Why Standardized Testing Is Hurting Our Society

Why Standardized Testing Is Hurting Our Society

Hey I want to blow your mind real quick. Did you know that the number one skill sought after by employers in the 21st
century is not the ability to do well on a standardized test? I know pretty
shocking right? Now what’s funny is like if you’re an employer right now you’re
watching this and you’re like yeah no duh I need people who are well-rounded
who can solve real problems and work with other people and be able to
communicate and take complex ideas and and get them across to other people this
is what I need and if you’re a teacher right now you might be watching this and
think yeah I know I want my students to be well-rounded I know that for them to
actually do well in college or to do well in career or succeed in life or to
be a productive member of society they need more than just the ability to do
well on tests or if you’re a parent right now you’re like yes I want my kid
to be well-rounded I need this we all know this matter of fact the number one
skill sought after by employers number one is the ability to work in a team
structure number two is the ability to communicate with others number three is
your ability to prioritize and organize your time number four the ability to
solve problems and critically think and then number five is the ability to
obtain and process information it’s number five on the list the ability to
get all this information and do something with it there seems to be four
that are above this and yet we have an education system as a whole that
emphasizes just number five on that list we have an education system that has a
set of standards and it says every student needs to be able to to assess
and show proficiency in these standards we’re gonna measure schools success
based completely solely on students abilities to do well on these
standardized tests we’re gonna measure teachers and their effectiveness in
their jobs not on how they connect with students not on the how they build
relationships not on how they teach their students how to collaborate and
solve real problems not on how well they are well creating well-rounded students
we’re gonna assess them just in their ability to do well on a standardized
test on a multiple-choice test which I should also mention these tests are
owned by private companies so it’s just interesting to me because any teacher
you talk to already knows this you already know this any administrator you
talk to knows this we know the value of creating well-rounded
students and yet we have this system that emphasizes just this very specific
part of us and I think it’s really inaccurate and I think it’s doing a
disservice to our whole society I think most of you would probably agree with me
I mean it’s maddening it’s maddening when I talk to teachers like the one I
talked to who was telling me that you know her principal expects her to follow
this script to a tee in her school so much so that when he leaves the room
next door and walks into her room she should be finishing the sentence of the
teacher next door she’s that scripted she’s that chained down and I asked her
I was like why does your principal do this she’s like you know it’s
frustrating and I get upset with my principal about it but I’m also just
frustrated with the fact that my principal kind of has to do this there’s
this expectation for him and how he runs the school to do well and he’s found
that the best way to prepare students to do well on these tests is to make sure
that we all follow this script it’s like that everybody’s chained down
everybody’s hands are tied to this this broken system or when you read the news
and you hear politicians and people in charge of public education talking about
how our system is failing how it’s falling apart how we’re not keeping up
with the rest of the world and yet all of these judgments on how we’re a
failing system are based on this little miniscule part of what the education
system is actually doing it’s all just based on test scores and number five on
my list right at number five on the list of the essential skills needed in the
world and it’s not talking about how well teachers are creating collaborators
it’s not talking about how well students are growing in their ability to
critically think and solve problems it’s just talking about these standardized
tests and you can see that I’m pretty passionate about this because it takes
me off it takes me off that we have brilliant educators out there who are
just oozing with creativity and passion in love for the work that they do
feeling stifled feeling chained down by the system that doesn’t seem to be
agreed upon by anybody that doesn’t seem that anybody actually supports it now
when I first got into teaching I was like you know what I felt these same
frustrations I was like we need to go and blow up the whole system we need to
get rid of all standardized tests and maybe even subject matter in content
just get rid of it all and actually focus on what matters
most but I’ve done this a while now and and I’m acquainted with this thing
called the real world and I realize that we do need to make sure we’re assessing
students on content still there’s still a place for for teaching subject matter
it’s still number five on the list employers still need people who know how
to obtain and process complex information we still need to teach the
Pythagorean theorem and how to factor polynomials and how photosynthesis works
and and there’s still value in teaching Shakespeare and and and there’s still
value in content and subject matter I’m not saying that anymore I don’t think we
need to ditch all of that they’re still good however we do need to emphasize
these other skills equally or maybe even more we need to we need to stop thinking
of these skills as soft skills things that come secondary to the standardized
tests but we need to see them as essential skill something that needs to
be in the bedrock of every single school in every single education system and so
I think this is a conversation we need to keep having and we need to keep being
loud about we need to start designing more and more learning experiences that
incorporate content and subject matter but also learning experiences that
require the development of these skills that require students to actually solve
problems and not just get their answers out of the odd questions in the back of
a textbook not just to be able to listen to a direct instruction and get all
their information but for them to have opportunities to figure out to solve it
to collaborate with other people while they’re doing it
to be able to communicate what they’re learning to be able to vocally and
verbally talk to people about what they’re learning we need to emphasize
these essential skills just as much if not more as the subject matter as the
stuff that’s easier to assess easier to deliver easier to measure a school and
determine if they’re successful or failing or not but at the same time
leaves out this essential element of what it means to be a well-rounded
contributing member of society so if we’re all on the same page if we’re all
the same team we’re all in agreeance here then let’s do something about it you

One thought on “Why Standardized Testing Is Hurting Our Society

  1. I have found that educators will continue to teach towards high stakes tests because they believe it is fundamental in order to continue their education. Teachers need to be behind every single education reform, and if that is going to happen in changing assessment, then teachers must know there are alternatives for their students being successful without needing tests. For example, teachers need to know that abandoning high stakes testing will not damage a students ability to succeed in the next grade, or during their college-career applications.

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