Monday, March 4, 2019

Thoughts on Standardized Testing

I was a student in Texas in the 70s and 80s.  I remember when testing became a thing. I understand why it became a thing - kids graduating high school with no reading or math abilities - AND no one being held accountable.  Yes, it sucks we couldn't trust teachers, or parents, or principals, or anyone else to actually make sure kids were learning what they were supposed to be learning.

Then, I suppose understandably, testing took over.  There became a loop of matching test questions and outcomes to curriculum and so on.

In the 90s and 00's, I worked various jobs for the testing industry.  I saw how test questions were tested, how passing standards were set.  I spent at 8-10 years scoring essays of all grades.  (I also saw a real decline in writing abilities over that time.)

So now we all complain about the stress, and the teaching to the test, and the teaching of testing strategies. 

But what if we didn't?  What if we just stopped stressing about the test?  What if we didn't teach to the test? What if we didn't teach test taking strategies?

What if - we simply never put the curriculum standards (the actual standard by number) in the classroom?  What if we never talked about the test with the students? 

What if we simply taught the students what the curriculum says is appropriate for age and grade level, gave them testing assessments along the way that were similar enough to "THE TEST" - and when the time came, just gave them the test. 

I know, I know.  It's all about the results, and the money - all the money - so much money - tied to those results. 

But what if we just left the kids out of all of that part of it and just let them be students, learning cool stuff in school? 

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