James Kirylo: Our Obsession with Standardized Testing is Inhumane

Mercedes Schneider posted a guest column by James Kirylo on our leaders’ sick obsession with testing and its harmful consequences for students.

Testing has become a grueling rite of spring, he writes.

“Whereas in 1950 those who completed high school took only approximately three standardized tests through their entire K-12 experience, and whereas in 1991 those who completed their K-12 experience took an average of 18-21 standardized tests, students today upon completion of their K-12 school experience can take anywhere between 60-100 standardized tests. In short, more than 100 million standardized tests are administered yearly across the U.S., annually costing the states approximately 1.7 billion dollars.

“This intense focus on testing and its results have moved into the realm of obsession, so much so that we now refer to “high-stakes” testing simply because they are becoming the sole criteria on how we assess and evaluate our children, teachers, administrators, and school districts. In short, the “reform” movement provoked by A Nation at Risk can be characterized as one that is now controlled by the profit-making testing industrialized complex.

“Truly, it has become disturbingly normalized in explaining reform efforts with detached terminology such as outcomes, ratings, scores, performance, monetary rewards, school takeovers, school closures, competition, and comparing and contrasting. As a result we have created an educational system that is analogous to describing a for-profit corporation, which ultimately results in the creation of “winners” and “losers.”

“This corporate-speak loses sight of the humanity behind this type of discourse, which works to objectify school-aged youth, fosters a constricted view of what is educationally important, and largely blames teachers if students don’t “perform” to some kind of arbitrary expectation.

“Make no mistake, this testing environment has placed school-aged youngsters under unnecessary stress, where many are fearful, dealing with bouts of panic, crying spells, apathy, sleeplessness, and depression. Therefore, it ought not be of any great surprise that droves of parents from around the country have opted-out their children from taking these tests, a number among which I include myself.

“And perhaps ironically, this testing movement has yielded very little positive results in improving our schools. In fact, one could argue that our nation is more at risk than it was 30 years ago, still leaving scores of children left behind. Indeed, illiteracy remains high, millions of children still live in poverty, and countless of youngsters are still attending classes with limited resources in schools that are old and dilapidated.”

from novemoore http://ift.tt/2oTScSl

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