Yesterday I came across this article posted by the Huffington Post by Lisa T. McElroy for Slate called, What Happened When I Opted My Kids Out Of Standardized Tests. It is a sad, but true story of two highly educated parents making an informed decision for their daughters and how the education leadership pushes back. The pushing back is a result of higher up pressure on the importance of taking a test.
Really? Does the principal truly believe that a standardized test is what gauges how your child is doing academically? One point in time? What if that student didn't sleep well the night prior? What if they didn't have a chance to eat breakfast? Oh no! That would never happen. Because schools always focus on a good night's rest, access to physical activity and breakfast during testing weeks. What about progress over time? Performance assessments that demonstrate skill-based growth and knowledge retention?
This is a larger system issue. The pressure administrators face for kids to attend school everyday, take the test and do well is unbelievable. Beyond belief. Enough pressure that leaders punish the students for not participating by taking away athletics or extracurricular activities. WHAT?
The system is broken. Standardized test participation related to school funding? Test scores related to teacher accountability? What are we doing? In a system that wants teachers to implement best practices, we surely aren’t doing so at a higher level.