UPDATE: It's testing week again here in Texas and I thought I'd re-post this from last year:
It's standardized test week at all my kid's schools (maybe even the entire state of Texas).
I just got back from the elementary school and it is full of "Shh! We're Testing" signs. Facebook is equally full of rants and snarky comments about the general unpleasantness of all things testing.
I haven't got any good hate mail lately, so I thought I'd share a little secret with you:
I think standardized testing is a good idea.
I don't think it's a perfect system but here are 2 main reasons I approve:
1. Being a military family we move a lot (6 schools so far) and standardized tests are a good way for me to evaluate and compare schools in an unfamiliar area.
2. My child could bring home straight A's all year long, but these tests show me that they actually learned what they were supposed to learn.
3. I do not have a problem with my kids learning how to take tests. I expect my kids to go to college. They will need to take test to gain admittance and take many more while they are there. (I don't want them spending an inordinate amount of time on this).
Of course, I think far too much time and money is wasted on these things. Here's how I would improve things:
Expense: Normally, I am against big federal government, but I think it would make more sense to develop one standardized test each year instead of 50 different ones.
Time: My kids will each endure 2 solid days of testing-which is simply too long. I think there should be 30-60 minute tests in each of the following areas: reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. They could even do one a day for a week.
Fairness: I think most states have allowances for kid's with special needs or learning disabilities, but if not, they should.
Relevance: Tests should be given the last week or so of school. There's still 2 months of school left.
Pressure: These tests are not testing our kids. They are testing the schools. I tell my kids to do their best, but their performance on tests will have no impact whatsoever on their future lives. In my kid's school they are not used for promotion, and I do not believe that tests like these should ever be used as the sole reason to hold a kid back a grade.
Rant away blogland and tell me that I'm wrong.