Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's About Time Somebody Said This

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who thinks that standardized testing (like our TAKS test here in Texas) is a supreme waste of time. A student sounded off against it a few months ago (by announcing she's refusing to take it) and was roundly criticized, but now a brave teacher, Rebecca Coleman, has joined the fray:
Each year, I've noticed the emphasis in curriculum moving farther and farther away from a liberal arts education, which emphasizes knowledge across a broad spectrum of subjects, to a "skills-based curriculum," which emphasizes the ability to pass a standardized test.

... Standardized tests don't measure what students need to know in order to become good people who contribute meaningfully to society. They measure what is easily measured.

... "Drill and kill" tests, like the TAKS, create students who are easily manipulated, easily controlled and increasingly incurious. We begin with fresh, eager minds in elementary school, and through years of focusing only on meeting those state standards, we choke the fun out of learning and thinking, creating students who hate school and everything associated with learning.
By all means, read the whole thing.

I hope Ms. Coleman doesn't get any grief from her employers for saying all these things (she wisely lists herself as simply a "teacher in a local school district"), because they really needed to be said...and heeded by the Powers That Be.

(And yes, I'd be saying this even if I weren't having to eat [or would that be not eat?] about $450 in lost lesson revenue next week because of this idiotic test. I promise.)

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