Friday, May 31, 2013

The Costs of Standardized Testing

The Costs of Standardized Testing (view the original source here)

It's sadly ironic that standardized testing has been hyped as the definitive way of quantifying our education systems while the cancerous consequences may never be measurable.

Here is but a modest list of the costs we have suffered at the hands of standardized testing:

  • Standardized testing has narrowed the curriculums that are taught and learned to match the subjects (language arts and math) that are tested, while limiting or eliminating subjects that are not tested (the arts and physical activity). Even subjects that are tested have been narrowed to only what is known to be covered on the test.
  • Loss of opportunities for students to have a broad range of educational experiences.
  • Scarce and valuable time, effort and resources have been used to turn schools into glorified test preparation facilities.
  • They distract whole nations of adults and children on testing instead of real learning.
  • Standardized testing has instilled a a simplistic view of education in the public.
  • Standardized testing has narrowed and bastardized the definition of student achievement (read: high scores)
  • Teachers have lost their pedagogical autonomy to make decisions based on their own students' needs.
  • Assessment, which by definition should be a tool for teachers and students, has been hijacked by the government.
  • Authentic assessment practices such as performance assessments and portfolios have been largely ignored in favor of the standardized multiple choice test.
  • The unreasonable pressure associated with high stakes, standardized testing has corrupted our schools leading to a stack of cheating scandals.
  • Standardized testing has become a political weapon wielded by corporate reform efforts to link teacher pay to student test scores and eliminate tenure and collective bargaining which is nothing less than a direct assault on the teaching profession.
  • By directing our focus to the scores instead of the learning process, high-stakes testing makes it difficult to fully understand what exactly is happening in our schools, and it makes it even more difficult for teachers and students to engage in real learning.
  • Standardized tests are a major source of test anxiety which has grown into a subfield of educational psychology.
  • Formative assessment becomes enslaved by the desire for higher scores thus reducing formative assessment to nothing more than miniature summative assessments
  • As bad as teaching to the test can be, some classrooms have reduced themselves to testing to the test. Classroom time is devoured by not only the tests themselves but practice tests, pre and post tests, field tests for the tests, benchmark tests, teacher tests, district tests, and state or provincial tests.
  • Standardized tests both over-estimate and under-estimate the abilities and potential of children.
If you have more to add to this list, please do so with a comment.

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