Evaluating Learning with Standardized Tests

Using standardized tests to  measure educational progress is contrary to the purpose of such tests.

Educational leaders have been and are still basing their decisions about learning on the use of such tests, and it is having disastrous results.

This is exemplified by third graders, especially conscientious ones, having anxiety attacks and by the surge of high school students giving up and just dropping out of school.

In the future, people will look back and ask, “How could we have been so foolish as to allow this to occur?” How could we justify using standardized tests (where half the test takers automatically fall below 50%) as an accountability instrument? How did we justify determining people’s successes or failures solely on taking “pencil and paper” tests? How did we support a system where success is based on checking facts—most of which inevitably are forgotten—rather than on factors which assess responsible citizenship and elements which are essential in living successful lives after formal schooling?

Yet, the federal governments “Race to the Top” has a critical component of judging a teacher’s success based upon students scores on such standardized tests. Perhaps I should consider adding this to the list of counterproductive approaches.