I ran across this story in my reading this morning.
I recognize that the story comes from Alberta but, as we know, all of the provinces keep an eye on each other and many ideas spread across the country. Certainly, standardized testing is one of these things.
It has created a number of really scary things…
- with Fraser Institute “School Report Cards”, we now can compare school to school
- real estate agents use the school scores, where positive, as a selling point for houses
- a great deal of finger pointing goes at school districts, schools, teachers when lower scores are reported
- anxiety increases for students during testing periods
- regular teaching has been modified to teach to the test
- a whole industry of outside of school hours tutoring has risen
You can most certainly find all kinds of resources that try to address these concerns.
Designed to take a snap shot in time of the learning, entire educational careers can be wrapped up into these tests and their results.
What about the teaching and learning that goes on for the rest of the school year? What about the learning that isn’t covered on the tests and yet is crucial for student success?
On the positive side, results have allowed the teaching profession to look inwardly at what and how teaching is done.
What concerns me, I guess, is the implication that parent concern over these provincial testing seems to trump the daily assessments, the ongoing learning of the student, the improvement of the profession, the home to school connection.
Have standardized tests sold themselves so well that nothing else matters?