Friday, January 13, 2006

Standardizing Education Lowers the Standards

I am an academic librarian, but we frequently host local public school classes that come in for a day to research. It's good for my university, it's good for libraries, and it's good for the middle-to-high school students.

We had a teacher in today with her 8th grade class that told me this is the last year they will be here. Now the students have to take some reading-assessment test. So, she has to "teach to the test," rather than have the kids do a research paper. She is not happy about it.

In order to make sure everyone makes it to a certain level of learning, students have to take an objectively scored test. While real learning happens while doing things like; going a huge (for these kids) library, doing research with computers, old magazines and microfilm, learning to put words together in a way that an adult can understand, and getting feedback.

I have taken several standardized tests in my day, and I remember filling in dots at random, not finding out the results, and not really caring about the results. It's just sad that these kids will miss out on a great opportunity in order to satisfy some over-achiever in Washington. Or Topeka. Or wherever educational over-achievers are found.

1 comment:

Blueberry said...

I was a "random filler" kid too, but sometimes I threw in a pattern if I was feeling creative:-)

I'm enjoying your blog today. Glad I found it at Spunky's place.