More on Testing

Ah, jeez.

I just read an article in the Boston Sunday Globe that includes a description by the writer of the many weeks in which her nine year old daughter was “drilled” on how to pass the reading comprehension test on the MCAS, the Massachusetts test.  She interviewed a bunch of teachers in the town where I grew up, and asked them about the benefits of going to the Common Core and the soon to be enacted national test.

The article made me so sad!  As a parent, as a teacher, as a lover of literacy, it just made me feel so sad.

I am sad that Ms. Weiss finds it acceptable to put third graders, including her own daughter, through the “pressure” of “drilling for weeks” in order to insure that they pass one standardized test.  Ms. Weiss doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that children can learn to read texts, understand them and answer open-ended questions about them without being “drilled” in these skills.  For years, before the onset of the standardized testing craze, children learned to do all of these things while also learning to love reading and writing.

The desperate effort to craft a single curriculum, a single test and a single measure of academic success has given us an education system which makes it abundantly clear to every nine year old that literacy is a chore, an onerous and stressful task that must be drilled and mastered.

Academic “success” no longer means learning to ask great questions or find creative solutions to problems.  “Successful learning” now means giving the right answers.  That is just plain sad.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Agreed. Standardized tests are frustrating… for everyone!


  2. I agree. Growing up, I always hated the standardized tests. It puts way too much pressure on the student. You study, study, study to try to prepare for theses tests, and once the test is over, you forget it all. What’s the point in that?


    • No point at all!!! Hence my extreme frustration, as I try to help the kids who are sobbing, the kids who are vomiting, the kids who have decided that they have no worth……


  3. I completely agree with you. I am a horrible test taker. Always have been and always will be. It has made me want to become a teacher to teach students on how to learn and pass tests with out feeling like they are doing a chore. I understand the No Child Left Behind but there comes a point when we are almost ruining the perspective on education for some children. I wish we werent training our future society to become robots.


    • You know, I love the idea of “No Child Left Behind”, as long as it really means, “Let’s not leave any child behind.” As in, “Let’s let kids succeed because they are brilliant artists. OR because they are musical. Or because they can talk through these ideas. Or because they can build a great model that solves this problem.”
      THAT would be a policy that I could support……


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