Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More Standardized Tests

Standardized testing is a big concern of ours, being teachers. We are bombarded with school and state regulations to teach a certain curriculum a correct way, so that students will excel at their tests. The schools view is that we need to "teach to the test." As many of you commented earlier about this issue, I think it is ridiculous too. When Greg was speaking last night about how he doesn't test the students, he tries to let his students have the opportunity to learn as much as they can on their own, asking questions and analyzing what they are doing. He steps in to guide them in this process when they are struggling and need help, but I thought it was interesting how he really lets them do most of the work. He even gets bored sometimes during class. He is more concerned about them understanding the material, and then from there they will be able to be tested on it. I like his process, but I also don't think students, just because they know the material will do fine on a test. Being able to take a test is completely different from knowing the information, and I agree that we need to teach methods for test taking as well. In regards to mandated tests, I just took my first NY State exam over the weekend in Spanish. I was thinking about it and realized that the process of testing in schools is never going to change because the demands are starting at the highest level. Teachers themselves are required to take these mandated tests in order to be qualified as a “good” teacher. So if we are required, then of course our students are required! I don't think my test had much to do with how well of a teacher I will be. Having completed a graduate program and having a degree is not enough. We have to receive "passing" scores on tests too, in order to teach. I just think the whole process is ridiculous, and doesn't truly measure our (being both teachers and students) real capabilities.


Genna said...

I feel you hali! I just finished all my tests about 2 months ago. It is a stressful time but you are smart to get it over with quickly! I was actually doing some research on the new policies of the different presidential candidates and almost all of them call for more standarization of teachers! So future teachers may have to jump through even more hoops than we do today!! Its a scary thought.

Heather said...

Hali, I agree as well. I also know that tests will never go away. I don't really have a problem with tests. They are not terrible assessment tools in of themselves. And, let's face it ...when could a test not be stressful. I consider myself a very skilled test taker and its always a chore. However, it kills me the way that tests are being used and the disproportionate weight they hold on the performance of the student, teacher, admins, school district and all the way up. We all know the test is only as good as how it is written. Frankly, the pressure on kids to perform in these tests is abusive. I recently read an article about a parent who took her child to a pre-preschool visit and the first thing the teacher did with the child is give her a paper and pencil and told her to write her name. Which the child could not do (much less hold the pencil). So the first experience this child has with teachers is to take a test ...and fail. It has officially gone too far.