While taking the course The Politics of Reading at UNC, I’ve learned more about education policy than I ever knew before. In learning about policy and all things education, testing, and reading, I’ve formed some strong opinions about how schools should run, and how the government should and should not help them. In thinking about what to write about in my “extra” post, I decided it would be fun to discuss some of my thoughts about testing, teaching, and measuring growth among students.
First, I have to say that I have never been a fan of standardized testing. I think that there are other ways to determine a student’s ability levels that don’t enduse stress and anxiety. I’ve never opted out of a stardardized test, but if my child became sick to his or her stomach and stressed over them, I would do whatever I needed to make sure that he or she did not have to take the test. Testing is not worth the mental, emotional, and physical side effects. If schools want to test, I think that they should provide a low-stakes pre-test at the beginning of the year to see what they need to focus on, and then assess the students’ assignments throughout the year to see how they have progressed.
Regarding teaching, I believe that every teacher should be able to tell whether or not his or her students are paying attention, engaged, interested, and above all absorbing the information they are being given. If a student is not taking part in one or all of these actions, the teacher should have the power to change what he or she is doing, whether it be teaching in multiple styles or offering the student help (there should be resources to help these kids in school other than their primary teacher). This idea of helping each individual student brings me to scripted curriculum. I do not believe scripted curriculum is the best way to teach. While the students may be given the information they need, many are bored and unable to process and retain the information. Teachers should be trusted to help their children in all the ways they see fit, while be observed by the principal and/or superintendent.
If I were put my thoughts into a couple of sentences, they would be the following:
There are better ways to assess growth than standardized testing.
Trust teachers to be receptive and help their students.