- What I learned tonight is that there is value to having both portfolios and standardized tests. A balanced approach to assessment allows our students to show learning gains in more than one way.
- Testing has its advantages as well as disadvantages. I am upset that administrators do not allow teachers to be creative and teach what they want. All their efforts have to be for the standardized tests.
- We need to realize a set of national standards that students should be able to achieve, but we also need to develop teaching methods that allow students to develop curiosity, learn at their own pace and learn info management skills that will follow them throughout life.
- I believe that our curriculum is being dictated to us by the businesses that create the standardized tests. Think about all the money being made by not only the test creators but the textbook companies that change their books that we have to buy whenever "standards" are changed!! Does this test provide students with any skills that they will be able to transfer to real world situations? We don't even color in bubbles to take our driving test... it's done on computer!! THEN, there's the poor kiddos that aren't good test takers. They see that clock ticking and lock up! Many times these are the "perfectionist" kids that obviously know the material - but shut down in high anxiety situations.
- Standardized testing in education is not going to go away. However, to teach to the test does a disservice to all students. Teaching student to think critically will prepare them for the test better than expecting them to memorize information that is meaningless to them. Establishing an classroom that promotes project based learning will create an environment for students in which critical thinking skills are emphasized, thus producing students who cannot only think, but will do well on standardized tests.
- I think standardized testing is a useful and necessary part of assessing student knowledge in the same way that doing a mammogram is key to understanding your health (if you're a woman). Tests that are created for specific purposes and clearly articulated in intent to teachers will not soak up valuable classroom time and can serve as wonderful tools for helping students.
I do believe, as do some others that participated do also, that districts and states rely too much on a singular test to determine student success. We prepare students for 90% of the school year for 5 days that determine how much they have learned. This is where the "teaching to the test" comment comes up over and over. Schools and districts place so much emphasis on these tests over these 5 days. What exactly are we teaching our students?
There is the argument that good teachers don't worry about the tests and their kids do just fine. I agree, to a point. There is still, looming over the heads of teachers, good or not, these standardized tests. I truly believe that if less emphasis was placed on them, good teaching would be come great teaching.
One alternative to testing most agreed on was portfolios. Even if we can not eliminate testing (which I don't think we should do) there should be other, authentic means of which we evaluate student progress and growth. A portfolio that shows samples of work from the student could easily be used. The test would just become one part of growth process.
There is no easy answer to the testing debate. I do believe, however, we would all agree that reforms need to be made and conversations need to be started. We can not continue to evaluate our students with a singular test.
What do you think? How do you feel about standardized testing. Is it true that it is a "necessary evil?" Are there methods other than portfolios that are an alternative? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.
Remember to join us on Twitter every Tuesday at 7pm EST. Shelly, one of the fabulous organizers of edchat, created a great screen cast on how to follow the chat using Tweetdeck. You can also vote for which topic to talk about every Monday.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons. View the original here.