Oct 7, 2010

Standardized Testing And Home School, My Thoughts.

    I have been doing some thinking on the pros and cons of standardized testing in schools and among homeschoolers who are forced to partake in this ritual. The method of state standardized testing is a way of tracking the academic progress of school children, testing them on basic knowledge. The student is given a score and placed among a statistic for their age and grade. Schools like this because they feel it gives them an idea of what the students know and if they meet the standard for their age and grade set by our education system. Schools are then commended for high scores among the masses of their students while low scoring schools, students and teachers are looked down on and encouraged to raise those scores. This may increases the stress of the teachers and students only making the problem worse! Standardized testing says that all children at like ages and grades must know generally the same information in the same way. Standardized testing does not take into consideration the home life of the student, the people who talk to them and don't, as well as their ability to learn at the same rate as other kids who are taking the same test.

The reason why schools are so fond of standardized testing is because it provides them cookie cutter information for the cookie cutter society they are training kids for! They can weed out the "fast" learners to the "slow" learners and label them accordingly. This may produce stress and depression for the "slow" learners and high levels of "self esteem for the "fast" learners. "Great job you have a high score" as they get a pat on the back for all of their hard work. The "slow" learners just get "you need to do better or you will fail" then they are placed in a class where they can "improve" and continue to do work that offers little to know challenge. That was me in the resource classes sitting their with the other "slow learning" or lazy kids who just wanted to get by and get out! I loved to score low on tests, and I loved the easy classes, there were less kids and the classroom was open for free conversation with the teacher as well as more art time. Yet that didn't change my self esteem, I always thought I was one of the dumb ones or at least that is what I was led to believe.

Deep down inside I knew I could do it if I really wanted to but why? so I can keep up with the other kids labeled "smart" and "good students" I didn't want to keep up I wanted to just learn and find my own way. I finally got out of school early thanks to independent study, finally I was allowed to learn at my own pace and surprise surprise I had the time to learn even more and of all the things I found that I have always wanted to learn! I finally felt like an individual. Anyway, this is about standardized testing and home school not me. Like most parents I want to do all I can for my children without doing to much damage lol! We are using a public Charter for our home school needs and he is in 2nd grade and will be required to do standardized testing in May. I have my reservations however and I am sorting it all out hence my post. He has already been tested on reading and was not allowed to participate in the program two years ago for Kindergarten until he had the assessment test. A passing score meant he was ready for Kindergarten curriculum, he passed but what did this really prove? It proved he was in line or even ahead of other students his age and was capable of doing the State mandated curriculum. Possible useful information for a cookie cutter life in a school that wants all the kids to learn, think and act in a certain way. I am not trying to say anything bad about the home based Charter school we use, but I have realized that it is still a public school with minds sets much the same. You need to take this into consideration before using a Public Charter Program. Learn more about home based Charter School Programs.

When I began this home school journey I wanted freedom to teach my kids in a way that was all them not every other kid. I am learning now about real education and how my own kids learn. Do I really want them to learn in a way that makes them better capable to score high on a test or learn in a way that speaks to them and actually allows them to learn and use their God given minds as an individual who they are made to be! Fortunately the program we are in offers much freedom and control on my part and we are happy with it so far (still way better than a regular public school).     

About standardized testing, I did try to see it the other way and have for many years. I said why not Standardized testing after all kids must have a basic knowledge so that they at least know what people are talking about in general conversations as well as do basic math and write a book report. We must know how kids stack up to other kids in the nation and we must track their education with tests made up with information they probably memorized anyway! When you spell it all out it really sound ridiculous, I am realizing that as I write this lol!

Standardized Testing: What Can It Hurt Anyway? I will explore this on another post in the mean time please comment and tell me your side. I want to hear the opinions of many people so please share.

Thanks for reading, to your families success!

Joanne Utke


lifeisagift said...

My kids do workbooks and other work pages, I can see when they do them how much they know and what areas they need to work on. I also see them grow and learn everyday. I don't need standardized testing to see that. For the students and parents it is totally unnecessary! Actually schools can see these things to they have children all day they know what they know! Standardized testing is a waste of time and money. Not to mention it is not necessary to compare children to other children!

Henry Cate said...

We do some standardized testing for our own feedback. We mostly just want to make sure we don't get blind sided. So far the areas our children score lower on are the areas we already know to work on.