Recently arrived to US
- Author: Andres, Teacher
- State: NY
- Test: All Tests
- Date: July 30 at 11:30 pm ET
I think high-stakes standardized tests are an inaccurate way to measure learning and determine success in any content area. The amount of assessments and testing is excessive and that excessive amount of testing is being used to determine if a teacher is effective or not. Standardized testing is taking away approximately 25% of the students’ academic school year. This past year I was unable to teach many classes because the students were taking different types of standardized tests. This system is forcing teachers to basically “train the students to take a test” instead of nurturing higher order thinking skills. When a teacher’s job and reputation are at risk, the teacher is going to pay a lot more time and attention on test preparation. The knowledge acquired is almost instantly burned off and forgotten once the test is over, and sometimes a very little real academic progress is made for the long term.
High-stakes standardized tests are not differentiated based on students’ abilities and the students do not even get a chance to learn from their mistakes. In fact, they never see the test after they take it, so no feedback can be provided.
After so many multiple choice tests where only one answer can be correct, the students do not understand that there might be more than one correct answer, or that it could change under difference circumstances.
Some parents complain that their children don’t have the critical thinking necessary to go to college. Other parents or guardians see their children bored, stressed and frustrated because they are taking so many standardized tests. I think it is not fair for my students who recently arrived to the U.S. to put them under more stressed and force them to pass the ELA (English Language Arts) Test, when they don’t even have literacy skills in their native language. The students often feel overwhelmed and constantly say that they are never going to graduate because they can’t pass the ELA regent. Parents also express this same worry.
I believe that assessments does not necessary mean tests. There are other way to assess students learning. Sometimes the students’ work throughout the year says more about the students learning that a standardized test. When the students produce a literacy analytic paper, or a science research paper or solved a real world scenario in math, the students’ analytic and critical thinking skills are being reinforced.
There should be more alternatives to graduate than just a standardized test. If the education system is asking teacher to differentiate their instruction, the education system should make differentiated standardized tests. I hope that with the implementation of the new Common Core Standardized Tests, the student learning is measured according to their critical thinking and analytic skills and ability to create research paper or produce a literacy analytic paper and not the ability to answer a multiple choice question.