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Administrators get funding and avoid harsh penalties by boosting test scores. For them, standardized testing is worthless and worse. Standardized testing creates “winners” and losers.” The losers are those who get labeled as “my low students” “my learning disabled kids,” “my reluctant learners.” Even the winners are trapped by being caught up on a tread mill of achievement that they must stay on at all costs through at least sixteen years of schooling, and more often twenty years.The losers suffer loss of self-esteem, and the damage of “low expectations” (which research shows actually negatively influences performance – the book to read is Pygmalion in the Classroom: Teacher Expectation and Pupils’ Intellectual Development by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson).
It's a problem for us, and, likely, a problem in most schools. Recognizing our grading differences, we opted to create a common conception of achievement, our graduate profile, and department learning outcomes with rubrics.
Our standards now align closely with the Common Core State Standards.
But people are already gaming standardized testing, sometimes criminally.
And, at a basic level of competency, a grade or an evaluative report would give us as much information as we now get from standardized tests. In the same course or department, a B in one classroom might be an A, or even a C, in another.
They aren't as good when the universe of data is broadened.
They are mediocre at analysis, counter-arguments, rebuttals, and evaluation of sources, though they have recently gotten better at evaluating sources as we have improved our instruction and formative assessments.
The National Resolution on High Stakes Testing, which calls on government officials to reduce standardized testing in our schools, has been endorsed by hundreds of organizations, and over 13,000 individuals.
And yet, in spite of all this, standardized testing still is putting a wicked half-Nelson on our students’ curiosity, creativity, and passion for learning in tens of thousands of classrooms around the country. One of the pioneers of standardized testing in this country, Lewis Terman, was a racist (the book to read is The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould).
Like many issues in public education, standardized testing can be a controversial topic among parents, teachers, and voters.
Many people say standardized testing provides an accurate measurement of student performance and teacher effectiveness.