Standardized tests are pests—here’s why

Key points:

  • Standardized tests aren’t inclusive and often lead to unnecessary stress
  • Educators should shift focus from standardized tests to ensuring students become independent learners
  • See related article: What’s the state of K-12 assessment?
  • For more news on assessments, see eSN’s Innovative Teaching page

Standardized testing has long been a contentious topic in the field of education. While the primary goal of standardized testing is to measure student achievement and set benchmarks for educational standards, it carries unintended consequences. This article delves into the multifaceted impact of state tests on various aspects of education.

Standardized reading tests…Read More

Five absurdities about high-stakes standardized tests

The Washington Post reports that barely a day goes by when the education world isn’t treated to some new story involving high-stakes standardized tests, the chief metric of “accountability systems” in the modern era of school reform. It might be about how student test scores went up or down or all around; about how standardized tests were incorrectly scored by giant companies that make millions from testing contracts; that some questions on the test don’t make any sense; that the high stakes being attached to the results — which are being used to evaluate students, teachers, principals, schools, districts and states — have gone from being unfair to preposterous…

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How much time do school districts spend on standardized testing? This much.

Exactly how much standardized testing are school districts subjecting students to these days? A nearly staggering amount, according to a new analysis, The Washington Post reports. “Testing More, Teaching Less: What America’s Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time,” released by the American Federation of Teachers, looks closely at two unnamed medium-sized school districts — one in the Midwest and one in the East — through the prism of their standardized testing calendars…

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Texas says ‘no’ to testing, seat time

The state that spurred the major expansion of standardized testing decades ago and became a model for No Child Left Behind is now saying “no” to copious amounts of testing, de-emphasizing seat time requirements, and placing a priority on online and vocational learning.

Starting in fall 2014, the roughly 1.4 million high school students in Texas will only have to complete five tests, down from 15. House Bill 5 was unanimously passed by both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, and is designed to give more flexibility to students who want to focus on career and technical training, not just college-prep courses.

Changes in testing happened in large part amid a backlash from students, parents, and teachers about too much testing, as well as low passing rates for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exam (STAAR).…Read More

Bush, Obama focus on standardized testing leads to ‘opt-out’ parents’ movement

A decade into the school accountability movement, pockets of resistance to standardized testing are sprouting up around the country, with parents and students opting out of the high-stakes tests used to evaluate schools and teachers, reports The Washington Post. From Seattle, where 600 high school students refused to take a standardized test in January, to Texas, where 86 percent of school districts say the tests are “strangling our public schools,” anti-testing groups argue that bubble exams have proliferated beyond reason, delivering more angst than benefits…

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ACT to launch college and career testing for elementary school students

ACT officials say testing students early will give them more time to adjust coursework and prepare for potential career paths.

Standardized testing is under increasing scrutiny, as proponents tout its potential for bringing accountability to education while opponents deride it as misguided and exhausting. How much testing is too much? How early is too early?

Now, assessment provider ACT Inc. has announced plans to develop a “next generation” assessment system that would test students for college and career readiness as early as kindergarten and continue through high school.…Read More