Standardized Tests Are Hurting, Not Helping Our Kids

Standardized tests have become the norm, the measure of our child's abilities, and the be-all, end-all of a school's worth. If a school can't pass a certain percentage of their kids, then they are not deemed a good school. Well, one adult man has blown the lid wide open on what standardized tests really prove and the answer is this: Not much.

A school board member at one of the largest school districts in the US took the test every 10th grader in his district has to take to pass through high school. The results were alarming. This is a man with a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate. He helps to oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and he is able to "make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities." And yet he couldn't pass these tests without being placed in remedial instruction in both reading and math.

Something is so very wrong with that system.


Both of my children are currently too young to be dealing with these things. Neither has taken any standardized tests, but when I was in school, I always tested very highly, which is why I ended up in honors classes and thinking of myself as a "smart" kid.

Because of this, I took the SAT early and ended up getting very good scores once I took it for real. I went to a good college and graduate school, and all of those things can be traced back to the path I was put on in the fifth grade and all of that was because of how I tested.

Maybe if I had to pass these tests, though, my life would have been different. Maybe I would have failed or been made to think I wasn't as smart as someone else. It's hard to imagine a whole life could be altered and changed because of some test scores, which in no way actually prove that a person will or will not be a success.

It's scary that we rely so much on these kinds of tests. We allow them to tell us who our children are and where they will go. The fact is, some people just don't test well. Others test well, but they aren't smart in the areas that count. No one can test for emotional intelligence and that is a key part of overall success in life.

We are going down a scary path in education if we rely too much on standardized tests, and I fear for my children if one of them (or both of them) happens not to test well. What then? Are they remedial then just because they get the same score as a highly successful grown-up with two masters degrees?

We really need to rethink the way standardized tests work.

Do you believe in standardized tests?


Image via isox4/Flickr

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