Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Testing Rant

Even though I'm not teaching this year, I still have very strong feelings towards Common Core and High Stakes Testing. This is mostly due to the fact that as the elementary computer teacher the last two years, the school I was at tested WAY too much! This was especially true last year. 

This was true before the Common Core Standards became mandatory as of this year. I fear for those kids this year as to how much more testing they may have ended up with. 
The reason I was the one giving the majority of the tests was due to the fact that the tests we took were all computer based. The kids were stressed as they took 2-3 big, lengthy, and repetitive standardized tests per quarter! This was in Grades 1 and up! 

The kids also hated the fact that they hardly had fun in computer class anymore. They wanted to learn with me! They wanted to enjoy the technology skills being taught. They knew I was frustrated as well but we all knew we could do nothing about it. We all knew the testing was mandated by people higher than the teachers and few administrators who actually understood what the constant testing was doing to students and teachers. We all just had to muddle through and do our best jobs!

Now, Missouri's annual state test, the MAP, was not computerized...yet. That used to be the main test given. However, more and more schools add too many other standardized tests throughout the year that I worry that by the time the "real" test is given in the spring, students will be "checked out". 

I understand and support the importance for testing. I know it's necessary to gauge learning and to help focus on areas of need in academics. But the trend lately has been creating a "testing overkill"!

As a teacher and a mother, I've seen first hand what too many tests does to schools, teachers, and students. It's unnecessary and takes away way too much time from main purpose of education: Learning! There is no need to spend the time and money on these high stakes tests. The money could be used better elsewhere: funding schools, teacher salaries, technologies, etc.

Give us our schools back! Trust teachers more! After all, they know best how to run a classroom, teach objectives, differentiate learning, and how to create lifelong learners.

Teaching students to pass a test does nothing to help them succeed in the real world. CCSS do not properly prepare our students for life post K12. If you want to have a national set of standards, then have actual educators create them. DO NOT make them so test focused and never, ever tie teachers' jobs and salaries to these tests either!

Education in this country has really declined ever since NCLB came about. We need to fix things fast or I fear for the future of the United States once this new generation of "test takers" enters the real world completely unprepared.

My oldest child just started kindergarten a few weeks ago. I worry for her and my son as they progress through school in this new "testing era". I plan to work with them at home as much as needed to ensure they are getting all of the necessary skills that CCSS most likely will not provide. 

Why can't education just go back to the way things were when I was a kid? I mean, of course, there would be a few necessary additions to account for the changes in the world, but we didn't have all of this testing as often as it's given. 

What are things like where you live? From what I see, this is a common theme across the country. 

I just wish there was more we could do as parents and educators. When will the government and school administrators truly understand what all of this is doing to our society?

Thanks for listening! 

Check out these supplemental pics and links below: 

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