How do you feel about standardized testing in K-12 - Mothering Forums

How do you feel about standardized testing in K-12

View Poll Results: How do you feel about standardized testing in K-12
They help bring low kids to a set minimum standard 0 0%
They prevent teachers from teaching curriculum beyond the test 15 100.00%
Schools become lazy and teach only enough to pass exams 8 100.00%
All of the above... 5 100.00%
They are a(n) great/awful idea and I have hard data to prove it 1 20.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll
Fernie's Avatar Fernie (TS)
06:25 AM Liked: 0
#1 of 14
03-19-2005 | Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2005
How did these tests affect your education? Do you feel you or your children have been hurt or helped by them?
Fernie's Avatar Fernie (TS)
09:35 PM Liked: 0
#2 of 14
03-19-2005 | Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2005
shelbean91's Avatar shelbean91
10:28 PM Liked: 11
#3 of 14
03-19-2005 | Posts: 9,290
Joined: May 2002
I think standardized tests should be used as a tool to get an idea of where students are, but shouldn't be the 'end all- be all' that they are becoming. I took standardized tests as a kid and am not scarred, but they were no big deal. There wasn't a pass/fail or anything like that. No worries of not graduating if I didnt pass, etc. My kids aren't school age, so I can't comment on that, but I am in school to become a teacher now and testing is something I'm having a really hard time with.

I think at best, it's not helping- at worst, it's hurting the kids.
Cranberry's Avatar Cranberry
09:55 AM Liked: 0
#4 of 14
03-20-2005 | Posts: 5,128
Joined: Mar 2002
Teachers can no longer be creative in their classroom. It's all about teaching to the test. I think standardized testing is a bad idea. It results in a very narrow curriculum.
BathrobeGoddess's Avatar BathrobeGoddess
12:34 PM Liked: 22
#5 of 14
03-20-2005 | Posts: 5,524
Joined: Nov 2001
I didn't vote any of your option because I don't think any of them reflect what is really happening in schools because of NCLB! It is how they are being used that is the problem not that the exsist at all. Stand. tests are a TOOL for teacher (yes the teacher, not the state not the feds!!!!@!!) to use in addition to many, many other authentic assesments!! They really should be a very, very small piece of child's assesment. The way that the NCLB requires tests scores to be compared to last year's scores is just plain stupid!!! What does it show when you compare the scores of an entirely different group of children to the current group? Does that really show a decline or an improvment in learning? Of course not! There are way to many factors involved to make a good statistical conclusion! Yet they do this every year!

As a teacher and a school psychologist I do like the stepping off that can come from reading a test correctly. If you look at it as you, as a teacher, a failing to teach an area and that shows up on a test, then it really is a great tool! As to taking away the creativity of the teacher, I think that "boxed cirricula" does that before the tests do!! I hate using programs that are so prescribed!!!

I guess how I feel in in nutshell is this:
Using the tests as the only assesment of learning is wrong and hurts children. The way NCLB uses tests to make assumtions about children's knowlege is wrong and hurts children. If tests are used correctly, they are a good tool for a teacher to use. Tests themselves are not the evil, it is how people (ie the feds right now) use them that makes them dangerous!
Alkenny's Avatar Alkenny
01:06 PM Liked: 5
#6 of 14
03-20-2005 | Posts: 11,719
Joined: May 2004
I didn't vote, because I don't know if ANY of them fit IME.

Every teacher I've spoken to in my kids' schools don't like them niether. Main reason? Because some kids don't "test" good! Some just freeze up with tests, some are more vocal instead of written, etc.

I'm fortunate to live in a small school district though, with enough funding to keep the classrooms small and more one-on-one between the teachers and students too, so I can't speak for everyone.

The only benefit I can see from them...I know ALOT of people who were just passed through and graduated high school without even knowing how to read!

Some of these tests show weaknesses and if the child needs the extra help, we have special areas for instruction in those areas.
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2
06:53 PM Liked: 720
#7 of 14
03-20-2005 | Posts: 20,029
Joined: Jan 2002
I voted all of the above, even though I just meant two of the above.

Honestly, most standardized tests for very young children are completely worthless. Many times they just don't understand the instructions, the question, are on one side or the other of a huge leap in learning, etc... Many times the kids give answers that are logical *only* if you understand what they are thinking at the time.

Additionally... what a TIME waste. And I have to maintain that learning to learn is much more important than any one fact, and definately more important than learning to take a multiple choice test.

If we are putting $ and time there should be good consequences and there are just not. Not at all.
Greaseball's Avatar Greaseball
05:18 AM Liked: 180
#8 of 14
03-21-2005 | Posts: 8,570
Joined: Feb 2002
What I would like to know is...

If any of you did not have all these tests when you were in school, do you feel like you are not as smart as you could have been or did not receive an education that was as good as it could have been?

Out of the ten things you are very good at, how many of them can you be tested on? How many of these things would you be better at if only you were given standardized tests on them in school?

If you seek the services of professionals who are over a certain age, you are going to people who did not have to take all these tests and who also did not have homework in Kindergarten or do all the other things that are "so important" for today's schoolchildren. Do you trust the service you get from your doctor, lawyer, professor, financial advisor, midwife, minister, or airline pilot? Or do you think they would have been a lot better at doing their jobs if they had more tests in grade school?

I had a lot of tests in school, and while I was not "traumatized," my time sure was wasted and I did not learn much, except that you had to fill in the bubble all the way or it wouldn't count. Now, in college, I get almost straight As even though I know next to nothing about what I was supposed to learn in all these classes. I get good grades because I know how to take tests and how to be a student, not because I learn things. Heck, I got an A in astronomy and I don't even know whether the earth orbits the moon or the sun or whatever. I have also gotten As in algebra, art, oceanography, music appreciation, and "the history of medicine" without actually knowing any of this stuff! Our tax dollars at work!
angelpie545's Avatar angelpie545
08:55 PM Liked: 21
#9 of 14
03-21-2005 | Posts: 6,466
Joined: Feb 2005
I think standardized testing is really a waste of time, especially in my state, Washington, where the results of which now determine whether your child will graduate or not. I'm sure you all are familiar with the WASL, or Washington Assesment of Student Learing. It is basically an IQ test, and if your child doesn't pass it, he or she will not graduate from high school and will be forced to either re-take or get his/her GED. It would be nice if standardized testing as a whole was used to simply judge teaching performance, but when it becomes the basis of judging student performance with other factors not in consideration, then it becomes useless.

While I agree that teachers should be held to very high standards, the key is to hold the teachers to those standards, not to punish the students for teacher/public school faliure. Standardized testing also makes no room for children who learn differently than the majority, such as special needs children, or those with learning disabilities, other disorders that may affect learning, or students that simply do not test well. However, I do understand the need to evaluate our schools and teacher performance, and I think standardized testing is valuable when it used to do just that, evaluate. It is not fair to try to mold everyone into one way of thinking, and one way of learning. That is what Hitler did to his country. When the learning is focused on achieving one thing in particular, instead of a multitude of triumphs, it becomes boring, and students lose interest entirely. It doesn't matter how good their marks are, because they have that test looming ahead, and passing it is all that matters. Standardized testing, when used for anything other than evaluation, takes all the fun and joy out of learning and teaching. It brings pressure to perform, pressure to be like everyone else, and that goes against the personal and educational freedom we all are entitled to as human beings.

Beth, fiance to a wonderful man , mommy to Destiny, 4
and Deanna, 2
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2
11:49 PM Liked: 720
#10 of 14
03-21-2005 | Posts: 20,029
Joined: Jan 2002

I am also in WA, which may explain part of my dislike of standardized testing.


If any of you did not have all these tests when you were in school, do you feel like you are not as smart as you could have been or did not receive an education that was as good as it could have been?
The funny thing is that standardized testing was actually VERY, VERY, VERY good for me in school. I was considered borderline retarded by my teachers for years. Then we took the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) and I tested way, way, way through the roof. Suddenly everyone realized I was just really bored (in 1st grade I refused to read because it was boring, etc...). Then, when I moved to Junior High a few years later it was another standardized test that got me identified as "Talented & Gifted" and put in the "smart" track. Basically I have always excelled at standardized testing.

But, I do not feel they are good for the majority of students AND I definately do not think they are worthwhile use of limited classroom time & resources (those tests are expensive to give, grade & interpret). So far it looks like DD is following in my footsteps "testing-wise" but I still just feel they are wrong. She does have one friend who has been crushed by standardized testing and it makes me so

A funny anecdote about standardized testing. When BIL took them as a child he decided that day he was left handed. :LOL He stuck with it and barely got his name filled out. When it came back that he was in the 3rd percentile there were various conferences. And *that* basically proves my point---- what *did* that test measure? Absolutely nothing.
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2
11:52 PM Liked: 720
#11 of 14
03-21-2005 | Posts: 20,029
Joined: Jan 2002
I just want to clarify.

I do not have a lot against "standardized testing" as it has been used in the past (a test in 4th grade, a test in 10th grade, a couple others as need be). Rather how it is being implimented as part of NCLB (which I also have major issues with).

I think that standardized tests for the general population before 3-4th grade are really a waste of time & money, though.
christianmomof3's Avatar christianmomof3
11:53 PM Liked: 13
#12 of 14
03-21-2005 | Posts: 878
Joined: Mar 2005
I was a teacher for 13 years, and I hate standardized tests! While I agree that test results can help show how a student is doing in certian areas, the way they are used now is awful! Schools are forced to focus way too much on tests. I had to teach test taking skills ad nauseum. It was soooo boring!! I taught reading and was told I could no longer have my students do book reports because we needed to spend more time on practice worksheets! : I could go on and on, but you probably have heard it all before.
If we want to have more educated children, then perhaps we should look at the other countries whose students outscore ours. Do they get rid of art and music and p.e. and test their kids to death? Is that why they do so well? I doubt it.
Fernie's Avatar Fernie (TS)
01:27 AM Liked: 0
#13 of 14
03-22-2005 | Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2005
seems we are all in agreement that the very purpose for the exam, the first choice, the tests fail to address
momto l&a's Avatar momto l&a
01:54 AM Liked: 89
#14 of 14
03-22-2005 | Posts: 13,100
Joined: Jul 2002
I was home schooled. Back in 1980-81 our state required hsers to take "the test."
All I remember is hating the test and being a nervous wreck. You weren’t allowed to count on your fingers and a teacher was always correcting me. You where suppose to use something like a yard stick to count on Of course I didn’t know anything about the school scene so that didn’t help me any in being comfortable taking this 2 day test.

Fortunately, the state decided that to test hsers was an embarrassment to them as the hsers where much smarter.

I just dont think this one size fits all test is such a good thing. So many kids will fall through the cracks IMO. Some kids just arent test takers
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