In Is Standardized Testing Changing ME for the Worse? from The Tempered Radical, Bill Ferriter shares,
“I'm starting to realize that standardized testing isn't just changing EDUCATION for the worse. It's changing ME for the worse.”
The problem is that parents can see this too but unfortunately they are blaming teachers.
Last night I had a discussion with a parent who was quite disgusted with the school system. He didn’t like what was being taught and was blaming the teachers.
Now as a teacher, I agree that there are some good teachers and there are some bad teachers but I don’t believe you can blame the curriculum on the teachers.
Parents don’t seem to realize that in most cases, teachers’ hands are tied. They are told what to teach and many times there are pacing guidelines and teachers need to follow these guidelines. Many times these guidelines are put in place so that the students are prepared for the gosh-awful TESTING!
It seems like our lives in the school revolve around the word testing. In fact, it makes me think of the Harry Potter stories and the one-who-shall-not-be-named. Because, even though we don’t always admit it, most of our behavior is centered around one major focal point - testing. It seems like testing is the only thing that is important in the school system anymore.
· I need to make sure all the students meet standards on the test.
· I need to make sure that all of my students are on the same level as other students in the same grade.
· I need to make sure that the students in my school are the same level as other schools in the county, state, and nation.
This puts so much pressure on the students, teachers and administrators.
Let’s face it. No one is going to be the same all across the board. And if people actually believe this they have no clue as to human behavior and human development. I sometimes wonder what planet the policy makers come from!
They use the excuse that these tests will show competence of students and teachers. Hogwash! The tests just show what students can do well on tests and how well the teachers can teach to the test.
This parent complained that students can’t compute numbers in their heads and have to use calculators for basic math. One of the reasons teachers push calculators is because the test is timed and students need to use them for the test in order to speed up the process. Remember, they don’t want to know how well you can do the skill, they just want to know how well you can pass the test.
There are lots of complaints from the community that we don’t teach the basics anymore. I believe that many teachers have a lot of common sense and given the freedom to teach, there would be a lot more teaching of basics in the classroom. Unfortunately teachers no longer have that freedom and have to do what they are instructed to do in order to keep their jobs.
Until we can make the policy makers realize what a disservice they are doing to our children, this kind of teaching will continue and probably get much worse.
How do you feel testing has affected your teaching? Please share.