On the surface it would seem as if standardized testing would be a good way to track student progress throughout the course of their education. However, if we really take a look at what education is all about, we see that this theory is severely flawed. For example, we all know that students learn in different ways, and we all know that one of the biggest challenges to learning is to be interested in the material that is being taught. How can we achieve this if we have to spend so much time teaching to these tests. Curiously, the results of these tests also have impacts on funding from the state and federal government, putting undue pressure on teachers and students to perform.
What we need to do is put together some sort of standardized test that takes into account the different learning styles of each student. I’m not saying we need to make an individual test for each individual student, just a generalized test that will play to the strength of each student, and will hopefully provide a more accurate judgment of their progress as students. We don’t need more mundane tests that show what kid took more notes, or happened to be better at memorizing the stuff that was taught in class. To be honest, I don’t think kids really even understand why they have to take these tests anyway. I know that when I was a kid and had to take these types of tests, I would just answer the questions as fast as possible and then leave. I wasn’t worried about state aid, or how some guy in an office was going to judge my scores.
What we need to be doing is taking less standardized testing and more testing that allows the teachers in the classrooms, the ones who actually deal with the students day in and day out to better evaluate what each student needs to learn. My eight grade English teacher did this for me, and because he took the time to deal with me one and one for just a few simple minutes, I was placed in a program in high school that helped me learn the best way for me, and my grades improved because of it. If teachers were allowed to spend more time on this and not on teaching to state tests, students would get more out of their education. They would learn more, and be excited to learn, because teachers would have more room to make it fun and exciting. I know that when I got to college I enjoyed classes that much more because professors were able to teach what they wanted how they wanted, and I was allowed to take the knowledge any way I wanted.
If standardized testing worked, then the No Child Left Behind Act would have been a huge success. It has failed though, and to punish the schools who supposedly are failing because of standardized test results, the government wants to take away funding? That is backwards, and if more tests are invoked that are the same as the ones we have in place, more money is going to be taken away from struggling schools that need more money for help on these tests, not less. I say we should do away with standardized testing and start letting the teachers and parents come up with the standards for which they want their kids to live up too. Trust me any good parent is going to want a high standard for their child, and any parent who won’t, well a good teacher would see that standard fulfilled anyway.
You can argue that kids may fall through the cracks, but we have kids falling through the cracks now anyway, and sadly nobody seems to recognize that.