Monday, June 15, 2015

The 7 Flaws of Standardized Testing


Last week I talked a little about why we choose to do standardized testing each year and some of the advantages we see in that choice.  But trust me, it is not all rainbows and ponies, folks.  Have you tested your kids before?  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is time consuming at best and painful at its worst.

Let's just say this year was painful for me.

After encountering several challenges, it got me thinking about the flaws of standardized testing. I have come up with 7, but I assure you there are many more!
  • Standardized testing.  The very name is flawed.  Whose kid is standard?  Really, what does that mean?  God created us all to be unique individuals.  Why do we think that every child should know the same things at the same time?  Some kids learn to read when they are 3, others, not until they are 7.  One is not doomed to fail while the other thrives.
  • Homeschoolers do not typically spend months prior teaching to the test.  I know it is done in public schools because we hear teachers complain about it all the time.  I, however, do not have the time nor energy.
  • We are homeschoolers.  Emphasis on the HOME part.  So gearing questions to a public school mentality puts us at a disadvantage.  Ideas like "substitute teacher" and what not are foreign to my child.
  • Kids being tested come from such varied backgrounds.  Why then do we think a child should recognize and know what a check is?  Who writes checks anymore anyway!  And holidays? Don't even get me started.  We do not celebrate every holiday on the calendar by doing word searches and coloring sheets, so do not expect that my child knows or even cares about St. Patrick's Day or such.
  • We are not evolutionists.  But year after year, my kids are subjected to "age of the earth," dinosaur, and fossil questions.  Please do not ask my child how fossils got on top of a mountain if you do not want to hear about Noah's flood!
  • Not all kids' learning styles are the same.  Boy did I see what a problem this was this year.  At lower levels much of the test is read aloud by the tester and the child simply fills in a circle. This is not limited to just the listening part of the test.  One of my kids is NOT an auditory learner.  At all.  So every time I asked him a question he looked like a deer in headlights.  It was painful.  It was information I KNEW he knew.  The problem was how the information was getting to his brain, or wasn't in many cases.  What about kids with test anxiety, or attention issues, or the child who just can't still for long?  My heart breaks thinking of those kids sitting at a desk for hours surrounded by hundreds of other kids "just like them."  What a set-up for failure.
  • Testing takes a lot of time.  It is one thing to have several days, or one full day to devote to testing.  And quiet days at that!  But my life does not typically work that way.  My phone still rings, my dogs still bark, and the house and meals wait for nothing.  When you complicate things by testing three or four different levels at the same time, well, things get a little crazy sometimes.
Yes, each year I test my kids because at this point in our journey I still feel the benefits outweigh the costs, but each year I more clearly see why many homeschoolers choose not to test if given the option, and why so many public school teachers dread test time each year.  I pray that one day we will allow kids to be kids when they still can, and then can teach and challenge them when they are ready to soar.  Their own pace, their own time, and with much success and joy along the way.

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Blessings,

3 comments:

  1. This makes me feel so sad and brings me to tears. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.

    ReplyDelete

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