Learning and School: Getting Testy
Submitted by OregonMom
Eight-year-old Sophie clutches her stomach and worriedly asks her mother, "What if I don't pass?" Next door, classmate Nate throws up his hands and announces, "Well, it's a good thing I like third grade since I'll probably have to take it over again." Both of these students have one thought on their minds: the dreaded state reading test that they must pass to be promoted to fourth grade.
As a teacher, I'm required to support "the system" that sustains this dreadful experience. Yet I look at my students and know there must be a better way. Sophie is a straight-A student who earned a 99 percent on the assessment to determine readiness for the actual test. (Don't get me started on the testing for testing!) And Nate, an average student with an at-grade-level reading ability, was placed in twice-a-week tutoring sessions after school in preparation for the test. He's 8! When you're 8, you're supposed to worry about who to play with at recess or whether to tell your mom about that extra ice cream you ate at lunch. Yet with the current tide in public education, students are forced to prove that they are meeting standards which seem to become more rigorous each year.
The general consensus is that standardized testing in the manner in which it is often conducted is too stressful. However, what's the alternative? How then will we ensure that the future of our country is becoming properly educated? And who will decide that better way?