Monday, April 23, 2012

The bad pineapple questions are not the problem with standardized tests

I am disappointed that the mainstream story about testing happens to be a poor test section about pineapples. While I agree the test question was ridiculous, I think focusing on that diverts us from the real problem which is that even if the test had greatest questions on earth, standardized testing at its core is a problem for numerous reasons.

Here are a dozen that come to mind.
1) Teachers are assessment experts. We don't need to spend 32 million on outsourcing assessments in NY alone. Billions nationwide.
2) If we believe we should differentiate instruction, then we can not standardize assessment. We must measure students where they are at.
3) Standardized tests are one of the least effective forms of diagnostic assessment.
4) Standardized tests don't provide any value to students.

5) Standardized tests have very little to do with instruction and much more to do with developmental readiness, parental involvement, student interest, test taking comfort, socio economic status.
6) Standardized tests subject students to unnecessary stress.
7) Standardized tests don't measure skills that are relevant for the 21st century.
8) Standardized tests assess in artificial, disconnected environments which is the exact opposite of what our children will need for success. 

9) Standardized tests aren't created by teachers. They are created off of people who profit off of children.
10) Standardized tests are not used to inform instruction. Teachers use meaningful assessments that are customized to children, not standardized to the system to accomplish that.
11) Standardized tests are not used to help children learn. They are used to punish students, teachers, and schools. 
12) Standardized test are making many children sick.

When we focus on the content of the atrocity of standardized tests rather than the fact that they shouldn’t exist, we are losing focus. It is as though we are trying to build a better torture chamber rather than stopping the use of something that is helping no one but the mega billion dollar publishing companies and elected officials who like pretty graphs.

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