For my group’s third current connection, we covered the readings from pages 212-229 in The New Teacher Book. This section discussed many important topics, but I put an emphasis on “What’s wrong with standardized tests” for my current connection. The book explained many different reasons why standardized testing should not judge students’ learning. A connecting article I found, called “The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing”, backed up the points made in The New Teacher Book.
The New Teacher Book stated that standardized tests lead to teachers narrowing the curriculum and focus on teaching their students just what will be on the test. This clearly takes away from students’ learning and does not allow them to learn to their full potential. It also mentioned how standardized tests are not a valid way to measure students progress because scores can vary from day to day. Depending on the students’ emotional state and the testing conditions, students could perform better or worse on the test.
Going along with the first point made about teachers narrowing the curriculum, “The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing Article” talked about a high school in Texas, Marshall High School, developing the no child left behind program. This program requires all students to pass a standardized test in order to pass the grade they are currently in. The article stated that the school would change their curriculum and the strategy for the way each teacher teaches if they were not seeing enough students pass the test. This is another clear example of schools focusing too much on standardized tests and causing extra stress and less education for students.
The article developed into making another point for why standardized testing should not be required. The writer of the article talked about how they believe the success rate for schools standardized tests is based on socio-economic status. Wealthier school districts tend to have more success on standardized tests than school districts where a lot of students live in poverty. I agree with this theory because wealthy schools that have better and more resources contribute to students’ learning. The resources inside of schools can help prepare students for standardized tests. Because of this, standardized test results are a much better predictor of relative wealth in a community than it is of knowledge learned by the students.
I believe there are much better ways to track students’ learning than forcing them to, not only take, but pass standardized tests. Teachers can document students’ work to look for improvement and complete performance-based assessments for each student. These methods would be much more beneficial for students’ learning. This way, students will be able to grow and improve throughout the course of the year and will be able see what areas they excel in or need to work on. The New Teacher Book and The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing article both talked about many of the same ideas and share the same beliefs when it comes to standardized testing.