Friday, May 18, 2012

Mandatory School Testing

Raise your hand if you are saying, “I told you so.”

 The following article is from the Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2012

School-Test Backlash Grows

Some Parents, Teachers and Boards Rebel, Saying Education Is Being Stifled

Quote: “The increasing role of standardized testing in U.S. classrooms is triggering pockets of rebellion across the country from school officials, teachers and parents who say the system is stifling teaching and learning.”

Quote: “The efforts are a response to the spread of mandatory testing in the past decade. Proponents say the exams are needed to ensure students are learning and teachers' effectiveness is measured. Critics say schools are spending disproportionate time and resources on the tests at the expense of more-creative learning. They also contend the results weigh too heavily in decisions on student advancement, teacher pay and the fate of schools judged to have failed.”

Quote: "They've turned a generation of kids into test-taking machines who are lacking creative-thinking ability," said Debbie Shaw, whose two children attend Palm Beach schools. She said she intends to enroll her younger child in a private school next year because she is so angered by Florida's "insane" testing regime.”

Quote: “Research on standardized testing suggests that its value depends on how the results are used. For example, in states where students who fail exams are held back, studies show they don't do better unless they get intensive follow-up instruction in the second year.”

Quote: “The biggest complaint is that teacher and schools are compelled to orient their curricula and classroom experience around passing the exams—known as "teaching to the test." Because many of the exams measure basic standards, critics say, that shortchanges students who could be spending time learning more advanced material.”

Quote: "Teachers are rewarded if we do well on the tests and they don't get rewarded if we leave school with the knowledge we need," said Mr. Goldman, whose mother launched the website "Testing is Not Teaching" in response to complaints from her children. "It's messed up."

Quote: “Testing advocates say it is possible to have a broad exam system without teachers focusing exclusively on the tests. "There are a lot of teachers in Florida who spend their time focused on teaching, not on test prep, and their children are doing quite well on exams," said Florida School Superintendent Gerard Robinson. "This is about accountability and making sure kids are learning, not about using tests to punish people."

Write to Stephanie Banchero at

Comment: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, Use tests to help students learn, not merely to punish teachers. RayS.

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