Arguments Against Testing

thetestI’ve started reading Anya Kamenetz’s new book, The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don’t Have to beWhile I’m early in the book, it is an easily accessible read for educators and parents. By the end, I’m hoping this will work well for a parent workshop – either as a presentation/discussion or even a book study.

In one of the first chapters – The arguments against testing – the author shares 10 reasons for the case against high-stakes state standardized tests in math and reading:

  • We’re testing the wrong things.
  • Tests waste time and money.
  • They are making students hate school and turning parents into preppers.
  • They are making teachers hate teaching.
  • They penalize diversity.
  • They cause teaching to the test.
  • The high stakes tempt cheating.
  • They are gamed by states until they become meaningless.
  • They are full of errors.
  • The next generation of tests will make things even worse.

She goes on to paint a fairly convincing picture of each of these points. I must say that I’ve believed/thought about for a long time the ideas against testing she is proposing.

So….are there ANY benefits to our system of testing? Discuss….


One comment on “Arguments Against Testing

  1. Hello Randy,
    Thanks for offering this post and sharing this book title. Now, your question: Are there ANY benefits to our system of testing?. I’m sure that based upon our previous interaction you know that I’m not a standardized testing proponent. However, asking this question does provide the opportunity for some introspection as a teacher in the big picture sense. So, I will attempt to give an answer unlaced by sarcasm about politicians and test making companies!

    1. I believe that the standardized testing movement forced us as an industry investigate the standardization of goals – outcomes to steal a term from our former governor’s plan – across districts, states and country.

    2. Standardized testing promoted the notion that there should be some “target to hit” for students. In addition, that target should be made known to students.

    3. The standardized testing movement promoted the notion that outcomes should be measurable.

    4. Finally, and this is the one I consider quite misinterpreted and misused(Insert political sarcasm!), standardized testing promoted the notion that the outcomes of the measurement could be used to evaluate, adjust and improve instruction.

    Well, given my feelings about standardized testing in general, I’m amazed I was able to provide a mostly sarcasm-free list! But, there ya go……

    Rock On,

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