Think back to when you were in elementary school and the teacher reminded you that next week was the start of the dreaded testing week.
Your palms became sweaty. Your heart started racing. And then came the big old lump in your throat.
Standardized testing is part of the law, but that doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for our kids or teachers. Kids spend a lot of time testing. Teachers spend a lot of time reviewing the information the tests cover. This is all time that teachers have to take away from students to learn new things or review concepts.
Parents feel like their hands are kind of tied here. They’re actually not. Many parents don’t know that they can opt a child out of standardized testing by filling out a form or contacting their child’s principal.
But what can you do if you want your child included without feeling pressured by the experience?
Standardized tests can cause anxiety. They’re new and scary. There’s a lot of pressure placed on children of all ages to succeed and make a school district look good.
Fortunately, technology is making a huge impact in classrooms, disrupting (in a good way) how kids learn, how educators teach, and how everyone works together for a common goal. One thing that technology is changing is the future of standardized testing.
What Will Standardized Testing Look Like?
Standardized tests are moving away from a pencil and paper, one-size-fits-all approach to testing. Educators are instead advocating for fun and sensible testing methods, like game-based assessments and portfolio assessments that track the student’s progress over several months, instead of relying on the results from one test.
These approaches make sense. No child learns the same way and, therefore, shouldn’t be tested the same way.
I love this infographic from American University that outlines some of the problems with, and some of the changes being made to, standardized tests that could revolutionize the way our kids prove their skills:
I’m all for finding ways to test kids in ways that boost their self-esteem and allow them to work to their full potential. It seems like our educators and leaders are on the right track to turning standardized testing into something completely new. I personally love the idea of portfolio-based assessments, which can show how each child is meeting their specific goals on their learning path.
There’s no reason our kids should be scared to take a test. There’s no reason a teacher should feel pressure that all her students perform well on that one test. And there’s absolutely no reason that parents should feel like they’ve failed their kids when their test results show that their skills are testing below grade-level.
What do you think of standardized tests? How do your kids feel about them, and do the test results show an accurate picture of their skills? What do you think the future of standardized testing should look like? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below!