Test STDs

“Are ACT and other standardized tests suffering from a case of STDs? I mean standardized testing deficiencies, nothing kinky, but now that I have your attention the answer to my question is yes. While the test themselves have problems such as the questions of accuracy and reliability the bigger problem is how they are effecting teaching and learning.”

Are ACT and other standardized tests suffering from a case of STDs? I mean standardized testing deficiencies, nothing kinky, but now that I have your attention the answer to my question is yes.

While the test themselves have problems such as the questions of accuracy and reliability the bigger problem is how they are effecting teaching and learning. We live in a society where higher education is seen as a must for a good job; it pushes standards on students and teachers to get there. These tests become the judging point on student’s potential and teacher’s effectiveness. The scores judge both, but means little to either. I mean besides learning that you scored high enough to go to college (the ultimate goal) did they mean anything else? And teachers don’t see them as helpful in teaching. The design of the tests (the multiple – choice format) it makes it hard for teachers to evaluate students from those scores. Teachers are forced to forfeit lesson plans and implement OGT prep, and students are forced to spend hours studying things like boy is to girl as man is to woman (please if anyone really sees the benefit to this let me know).

We don’t really question when we are in the system because that’s what we are used to and it’s the means to the end in getting to college, but really the preparation for these tests take something away from the learning process. The preoccupation of getting a good score made us miss what was really there. We memorized the important dates and names, but lost sight of what they really mean.

This topic is by no means new, so why bring it up now? Why bring up a topic that isn’t new and certainly hasn’t changed? I mean as college students we’ve already paid our dues in the standardized testing system, but while these tests might be in our past, they are some other student’s future. It also affects those future teachers who choose the profession because they want to teach students, not train them for tests. I bring it up because it is an important issue that seems to easily fade to the background. It is overshadowed by health care, the war, and Joe the Plummer, leaving a whole new group of students susceptible to substandard education; because overly standard can become sub-standard.

A boy with his superman backpack eager to learn discovers the goal is to pass tests to get to the next level. It’s turning into more of a strategic game rather than an educational experience.

Once you get to college, and out of the strategic game, you discover there is this whole different way to learning and teaching that is far more stimulating and valuable than how it was in high school. Many students don’t go to college because they don’t think they are good enough and I wonder if that is the truth, or just what the standardized system has lead them to believe?

I’m writing this because the topic does seem to easily fall away from peoples minds, and I wanted to remind you of that it is an issue. I may not have a solution, but somebody does, and maybe by reminding them that there is a problem will start something. We can’t afford to forget. Because forgetting means forgetting that little boy with the superman backpack with all of his desires of learning and saying to him: sit down, take off your pack, and get ready for some tests.