The focus on testing in US public education is leading to more and more teachers and parents expressing dissatisfaction.
Whilst in the US last month, I spoke to a number of people about this and received a common reply that the testing ‘tail’ is wagging the learning ‘dog’.
This concentration on summative testing is counter-productive on a number of levels. To this extent the testing is superficial in monitoring whether students have understood and can apply what they have learned in a structured way.
Firstly it encourages the behaviour in teachers of ‘teaching to the test’, especially if there are penalties for those whose children do not meet the expectations of the test.
Secondly it takes away time for learning and encourages a truncated learning experience which promotes only those things that can be tested – often in a multiple choice format.
Thirdly it reinforces the cultural expectation that the purpose of the test is to fail many so that the few can succeed – it is a quality control mechanism which will blight the self – belief and performance of individual children over their lifetimes.
Fourthly, it makes for a sterile school learning experience across the curriculum.
Read more on this developing story at Common Dreams: With Massive Boycott of Standardized Tests, New York Students Take Stand Against Corporate Education