By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana
Yes, your children are being tested, but is it to improve their education, or is it done to make it easier to judge teachers?
There is a move in New York state against standardized testing. Parents have concluded that the testing is being used to make it easier for administrators to either fire or retain teachers, not to educate their children. Many of them are not allowing their children to take the tests.
Other states including Pennsylvania, Colorado, Maryland, and Florida are experiencing similar resistance. Several national organizations have evolved such as Change the Stakes, The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) and United Opt Out. Then there is Texas where a student must take 15 standardized tests in order to graduate!
The pressure for students to perform on standardized tests has led to massive fraud in Atlanta and Washington, DC. In both cities those in charge of education systematically and repeatedly changed the answers on tests. Administrators received bonuses, teachers retained, and awards given based on the fraudulent test results.
Noted educational policy analyst, Diane Ravitch, states, “…policies and practices that are based on distrust of teachers and disrespect for them will fail. Why? ‘The fate of the reforms ultimately depends on those who are the object of distrust. ‘In other words, educational reforms need teachers’ buy-in, trust, and cooperation to succeed; “reforms” that kick teachers in the teeth are never going to succeed.”
Those who developed the Common Core Standards (CCS) largely excluded teachers in the development, yet they must depend on teachers to implement CCS and ensure children do well on the standardized tests that follow.
And since many schools now include scores on standardized testing as a portion of determining whether or not a teacher is retained, the goal has necessarily changed from learning to scoring.
My poor simple mind believes that if a teacher has the time to teach, then the children will learn and do well on tests. The children who have learning problems will not do well. The teacher will note this and make necessary adjustments.
In a predetermined curriculum that the Common Core Standards is generating, teachers have fewer and fewer opportunities to make those adjustments.
The New York parents determined that 25% of the school year was dedicated to preparing for and taking standardized tests. 25%!!! Add to that the approximately two months of skills that students can lose over the summer, and that leaves about 65% of the school year to master new skills – on which they will be tested.
How can there be enough time in that remaining 65% of the school year to adjust instruction to meet the needs/ weaknesses of all students? The teacher must continue with the predetermined curriculum or be judged poorly and possibly lose her job.