I feel that complaining about standardized testing has jumped the shark. Like so many other good ideas whose time has passed, complaints about testing are starting to make teachers look bad. So I think we should stop.
Let’s face it. Testing’s not going away. If we haven’t figured that out by now, there’s something wrong with us. So isn’t it time to stop talking about how useless they are and how they’re an impediment to true learning? What if all the time spent bashing them and the never-been-in-a-classroom politicians who force them upon us was spent thinking of ways to improve teaching and learning within the confines of an imperfect system?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as troubled by testing as any other sane, rational educator. In fact, on this very blog, we’ve ranted about how much time testing takes up, and I stand by that. Our stance is that a one-size-fits-all, multiple choice, high stakes assessment can never accurately measure what students “know.” And it certainly can’t be used to measure teacher effectiveness.
But, again, I don’t foresee their extinction any time soon. Those who mandate testing aren’t going to magically start listening to teachers after all these years of ignoring us. So I feel that as educators “trapped” within a flawed system, it makes more sense to focus our energies on things we CAN control. What we can control is the teaching and learning that goes on in our classrooms. You CAN teach standards in an engaging way. You can unleash all your creativity and passion to inspire your students AND cover state or national standards. It can be done.
So, to sum up: tests….bad. Good teaching…good. And complaining about standardized testing…it’s time for a different approach. Our students deserve no less.