Are the educations of students in America being jeopardized? All signs point to yes when you take a look at test taking practices. In many cases, curriculums are being changed, shortened and neglected in the classroom to meet the guidelines of standardized tests. Teachers are oftentimes pressured into to “teaching the test,” which is replacing many good teaching practices in America.
“There are many people in our communities who are incredibly successful and lifelong learners, but who did not excel as test takers,” said David Geurin, a leader in education innovation. “Their success is attributable to many intangibles that cannot be easily measured.”
This rings especially true in the classroom. Measuring the success of students based solely on test scores limits not only the success of those students, but schools as a whole. This narrows the curriculum in schools and in some cases even takes up to a quarter of the years instruction to focus on standardized test prep.
“Raising test scores is not a vision for learning,” said Geurin. “This approach marginalizes the individual and their learning needs in favor of data objectives that may not even be meaningful to the individual.”
In a study, published by the Brookings Institution, found that 50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning. With that being said, is it time to find new and more efficient ways to measure students’ success?
“The era of accountability has created an assembly line approach to schooling,” said Geurin. “It seems to almost eliminate the human element.”Relying heavily on test scores dehumanizes education. It would be more beneficial if our education system focused on individual students reaching their goals, rather than meeting data requirements per district. As today’s students are the future of America, allowing their educations to slip through the cracks in order to meet today’s data requirements becomes a major setback in the future of our society.