Standardized Testing in Schools Comes Under Federal Scrutiny
Since George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law on January 8, 2002 , standardized testing in schools has increased substantially from what it had been in years past. Federal guidelines were established that each state was mandated to follow. As the years have passed, more parents, students and educators have been vocal in their concerns that such testing has become excessive.
Elected officials in Congress and the president are acting on those concerns, with legislation pending in both bodies of Congress to amend some part of No Child Left Behind. President Obama, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, are also making some changes at the administrative level. Neither the legislature nor the administration is calling for the eradication of the standardized tests, but compromises and improved methods of testing are being reviewed.
Returning the Joy and Fun to Teaching and Learning
A study of the 66 largest school systems in the United States revealed that between 20 and 25 classroom hours per school year are spent taking the standardized tests. What no one knows, or is able to accurately measure, is how much classroom time is spent in teaching to the tests and preparing students to take the tests.
Have our educators become almost robots in the sense that they must teach to those tests, since many states use the data from the tests to levy public funds and provide "grade cards" for individual school systems? Is it possible to have enough hours in the school year for educators to do all this, in addition to teaching critical thinking skills and providing intellectual challenges for the students?
What about the students themselves? How does this increase in testing affect them mentally and emotionally? Isn't there already enough in a young person's life to cause anxiety without the added pressure of standardized testing?
There are many considerations in this issue, many more than I've listed here. I'm interested in learning what educators, parents and even students think and feel about the standardized testing issue.
Here's a video from "Last Week Tonight" on this very topic: John Oliver on standardized testing in schools
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/school-report-book-education-686345/ by PeteLinforth