An educators perspective
- Author: Anonymous, Teacher
- State: NY
- Test: State test: Pearson
- Date: May 13 at 9:07 pm ET
This year there has been yet another escalation in education toward increasingly more standardized testing. The rigors of Common Core have put much thought into the minds of students as well as educators. The compelling vigor behind this movement is the expectation that all children can learn to read, write and calculate math problems at grade levels, regardless of any diversity and in spite of any differences. All students, be they mentally handicapped, ELL’s, minority race or low socio-economic status, behaviorally disordered, learning disabled or otherwise disadvantaged, are required to be included in on state mandated tests. High scores have become an obsession.
The climate in my school building is one of fear and disadvantage at its highest. There is fear in students, teachers and administrators. During the English Language Arts exam some students in my classroom cried and some even were sent to the nurse for fear of vomiting. What are we doing to the children in New York City and nationwide? Are we not citizens who vote and make decisions for ourselves and our children? Why are policy makers afraid of our children succeeding? Upon looking at the 3rd and 4th grade test this year I had to ask why is it that during college when a professor gives you an exam he or she will also give you material you can study from. Why are our 3rd and 4th graders sitting through a test that they aren’t really able to study for? Wouldn’t our children do better if they knew exactly what to expect on the test? My students were absolutely discouraged after the ELA exam and some parents were upset. Unfortunately, as educators our hands are tied. Our students’ scores are tied to our evaluations and if they don’t pass well then it’s our fault and no one else’s. Not the creators of this test, the policy makers, or the Common Core standards which are complex and greatly subjective. Researchers have long recognized that standardized tests have built-in biases that affect socio-economic status and race.
My recommendation to test creators, policy makers and those who have a hand in the future of our schools, is that they should really begin to look closely at what they have created. Stop viewing students as a number or level and let’s begin to create a society where global markets do not drive our schools but rather let’s allow our students to be creative, innovative and true critical thinkers. These are the qualities, that high-stakes standardized testing has ripped out of the hearts and minds of our society. These are the qualities needed to succeed in life.