Here are a few things I do remember about school.
- Conducting experiments.
- Making things (a solar oven, a book shelf, a dress).
- Learning how to organize my notes and notebook for easier studying.
- Learning how to write a decent expository essay so I could survive college and beyond.
- Sex Education integrated in Biology and Health classes without controversy.
- My teachers - the good, the bad, and the ones you just had to learn to live with.
- Socializing with or tolerating other students.
- Field trips to interesting places like New York City art museums, a sewage treatment plant, the Adirondacks.
- I remember Regents exams, which we took once at the END of a subject (as long as you passed).
- I remember SAT's - necessary to get into college.
- I remember taking a test in 10th grade (IQ?). Likely, I only remember because I had the flu. I did well on the Math segment but half way through the English portion I threw up. No, it wasn't test anxiety, I truly had the flu. The point is, the score stuck! I couldn't retake the test. There was no explanation that went with my scores. How is that helpful in evaluating a student, a teacher, a school system? What I learned from that experience was bureaucracy is generally unfair and inefficient.
What do I remember about standardized tests before high school? Zip, nada, nothing. I'm not saying we never took them. What I am saying is they were not stressed. They were NOT the most important tool in education. Most people probably viewed them as a necessary evil; not the primary indicator of student, teacher or school success. Why have we come to put so much emphasis on standardized tests now?
When today's students look back on their education experience what will they remember about standardize tests? Frankly, I don't want them to remember the tests themselves at all. Standardized tests may prepare you for college but they do NOT prepare you for a career. In my entire working life; as technical support for flight test data production, then as a classroom teacher, finally as a school librarian, I have NEVER had to take anything more than a hearing test.
I've had to:
- Make things
- Get along with others
- Write documentation
- Be responsible
- Learn new information and skills
But take a standardized test...nope. Not since school. If we want students to be career ready, then it is time for standardized tests to fade back into the unmemorable background so teachers can focus on what really matters.
Another great blog on this subject by a teacher. http://tmblr.co/ZDGBnx19JU6Lb