Final exams, SAT and ACT, pop quizzes, state standardized tests…
Why do we need a test to show us what our students have “learned”?
Seriously. I’m asking.
It would seem to make more sense that what students learn should be transparent from day 1, not just captured in a number or score on day 45, or 180 or 2,160. I mean, shouldn’t we be able to see their learning inform and enhance their practice? Shouldn’t we be focusing on them doing something with what they’ve learned rather than simply telling it back to us at some predetermined hour?
Apparently, we don’t know what they’ve learned until they take that test and get that score. Until they’ve studied or crammed or been tutored or, in some cases, cheated their way to a number.
Because apparently, that makes us “accountable.” That’s what makes it “count.”
We’re sending some pretty unhealthy messages to our kids when we make it about a snapshot in time rather than a lifetime of learning.
Glenn Shanks says
The ONLY way this nationwide practice will ever change is if teachers and parents communicate with legislators. We must tell them how we fell about the current state of testing with our words and with our votes. As a profession, we are not good at this type of self-advocacy.
L'Atelier School says
It’s all in the name of equality I suppose (I mean, kind of). Tests on a nationwise base are the only thing that the kids have in common, with the same criteria and so on. One way or another, it’s a great tool to compare certain skills in a student. That’s why scores are so important to enter certain schools. I say they are still relevant, but schools may need to learn new ways of recruiting … but this comes at a cost. Globalized tests are a cost efficient way to recruit students, that is for sure.
Also, I don’t know about the U.S but in Europe or Asia where classes consists of 25 to 45 people, and when teachers may have anywhere between 100 to 300 students, they can not possibly assess their level of “learning” without tests.
Amy S. says
As a Kindergarten teacher in Northern Minnesota, I completely agree with your article. In our district, we give a state standardized test that the students take right away in the fall, again after winter break, and one last time in May. The scores are looked at in comparison to other Kindergarteners in our district, in the state, and across the country. They are given by the title one teachers who know very little about these students, they don’t understand the children if they have speech issues, and many of the kids feel shy or uncomfortable around a new adult so they don’t feel the need to do their best. How are these scores accurate and what information are we getting by giving these tests, that we couldn’t find by giving assessments in our own classroom? Especially during the early elementary years, I just don’t feel these tests are appropriate or beneficial.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.