Monday, August 10, 2009

Standardized Testing to Standardize Our Kids?

I totally understand the concept of No Child Left Behind but the rhetoric is much better than the execution. It is a catchy title but that alone won't accomplish the results intended and a soundbite on it's own isn't worth the digital media it is embedded on. What we need isn't standardized testing, we need a rock solid, standardized curriculum that specifies what kids need to know in order to advance to each grade level. And why in the world should it be state specific? I think New England got it right when all of these neighboring states said, let's agree on standards for all of our collective states instead of each one of us doing this on our own. What if we took it two steps further a nationwide standard but not on tests, on knowledge and curriculum - blasphemy.

Focusing on the test is like our focus on the symptoms, not the cause of an illness. The reason/cause that kids are left behind is that they don't learn the things they need to succeed in life, but instead of focusing on that, we focus on testing to see what kids know at each grade level, so our kids get good at taking tests which may or may not measure what they need to know. If we are lucky they do, but without a healthy well defined curriculum it is more pot luck than by plan and design.

And it isn't bad enough that we had to create these standardized tests, we had to do it 45 times, once for each state (less the New England gang who agreed on one test for their collective). So just for fun and giggles you can read all about these non-standard, standardized tests and weep for all of the state tax dollars we are spending for each individual state to create, execute, administer, monitor and report on these non-standard, standardized tests.