In the annals of educational lore, standardized testing should appear as a footnote at the very end. This method of teaching has a dire and drastic impact on the quality of education being handed out to the future of the world.
Standardized tests work on the principle that everyone is similar, and does not take into account all of the different hardships and strife that many students have endured along their path to enlightenment.
Teachers that feel coerced into teaching to the test lose their effectiveness, and their integrity. A teacher needs to teach, and there are many teaching moments that do not come from a book. An effective teacher navigates through the school day with unmitigated temerity, and seeks to illuminate the minds of his or her students.
By teaching to a well-defined curriculum based on statistical data, a teacher’s impact is no longer indelible, it becomes rather ordinary.
A teacher should teach how they feel is right. After years of invaluable experience, or even as a fresh faced rookie, a teacher should just plain teach. The structured format of teaching to appease the standardized testing scores impacts effectiveness, because it ostensibly forces a teacher into the bland lecture format. Gone are the impulsive and spontaneous moments of brilliance, where ideas are brought to life and nurtured.
When teaching for standardized tests, a teacher loses focus of the reason why he became a teacher in the first place. A teacher will guide the students toward the right answers for the test, as opposed to guiding them to come up with some answers of their own. This is the impact that standardized tests have on teachers.
Standardized testing has a major impact on how teachers teach, and it is contradictory to how teachers should be teaching. The main concern with standardized testing, although good in theory, is that public perception rears its ugly head and forces school boards to try and keep up with the Jones’.
The standardized tests are also generic, and therefore are limited in their grasp. Things such as language impediments are not considered. The wording in standardized tests is often convoluted, which can rattle students without a mastery of the English language.
Teachers suddenly begin to teach to the test, in order to seem as though they have become the latest miracle worker, usurping Anne Sullivanfrom the annals of history.
By teaching to the test, a teacher focuses solely on certain areas of study, and begins to leave out valuable information that needs to be learned in order to work in a copacetic fashion with the other concepts and ideas being taught. Many items of study coexist with other areas in order to be harmonious.
A teacher that is teaching to the test may also become complacent and discontent in his or her capacity, and therefore the teaching suffers. A teacher that is not happy because he or she feels as though they are only teaching to the standardized test may let their feelings of inadequacy manifest into their teaching habits, ruining the student’s chances of learning.
Many teachers also tend to cram in all of the studying for a standardized test in the short period of time prior to the test taking. This form of cramming may work for some students, but most definitely not for all. Even those that can process all of that information in a short amount of time will probably forget it rather quickly, thus removing the teaching aspect out of their learning.
Cramming keeps information stored for a brief period, and then, if you have not learned, just memorized some things, then you will have not been taught very well, which is the right of every student.
Moments of creative and spontaneous teaching, where valuable like skills are forged together with academic knowledge are lost. These moments never see the light of day, because teachers are too worried about making sure their students perform well on the standardized test, lest they seem as though they are ineffective.
The lesson plans of a teacher will become stagnant, remaining the same dull and dry stuff from year to year. They will not try and reinvent the wheel, which a truly effective teacher does do every year. Depending on the test results throughout the area, a new strand of study will garner all of the funding.
If the math scores are low, for example, then all of the money gets pooled into the math departments, and everything else suffers as a direct result. New curriculum comes out and focuses on areas that were deemed weak, but that just means that the other areas will suffer from a lack of attention.
This additional stress on one particular area also forces teachers to go to in-services to learn something new, which keeps them out of the classroom too often, which handicaps the students in the class.
Standardized testing is a means of figuring out where the youth are at in terms of their academia, but it has a severely negative impact on the way that teachers teach. And teaching should never by stifled.
Mark Twain said “School should never interfere with your education,” and truer words have never been uttered.