Kids are Test Data

I’ve blogged before about my strong dislike for standardized testing and treating kids as numbers. But, since I am just a parent, my voice doesn’t seem to count for much. District staff dismiss my concerns because I don’t know enough (they think) and tell me not to worry about my kids’ scores. But they sure do worry about the scores!  Everything is seen through the lens of test scores: the achievement gap, funding, class placement, graduation rates, curriculum, etc.

Thank goodness for teacher bloggers like Pernille Ripp and Larry Ferlazzo who reacted to a recently posted video by Alfie Kohn in which a high school student is “prepped” for a high stakes standardized test.  (I am not going to post the video here. You can see it by linking to either of the posts linked above.)

The comments have eloquently stated their feelings about these tests, and I agree. My son attends a school where they do very little testing — only one test a year starting in 6th grade. I can so readily see the difference when the teachers don’t have to teach to the test.

In a recent meeting with World Language teachers (I’m a parent rep on a district curriculum committee), they discussed how they’d like to incorporate online learning more, but the labs are so frequently booked with testing. (The obvious solution is a 1:1 or BYOD set up.) At my daughter’s high school, the kids who aren’t taking the tests don’t go to school during testing time. Something is also wrong with that picture….

Numbers and data shouldn’t drive education. Students should.

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