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Do you think there's too much pressure on school testing?

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Largest School Test-Cheating Scandal in History Failed Our Kids the Most

by Adriana Velez 

pencilsDoes anyone else feel like all that relentless testing we make our kids do isn't making them any smarter or better educated? If you don't feel that way now, the latest testing scandal might change your mind. A whopping 35 schools are accused of tampering with test scores in Atlanta, Georgia. It's the biggest school cheating scandal in U.S. history. The adults sold out the kids.

Back in 2008, two reporters for the Atlanta Journal Constitution thought an elementary school's amazing test scores sounded too good to be true. So they started investigating ... and the scandal grew larger and larger, involving teachers, administrators, and even politicians. Under insane pressure, adults in charge of educating children allegedly tampered with test papers and then lied to cover it all up.

The investigation led to a grand jury indictment that starts at the top: Reportedly, Superintendent Beverly Hall pressured principals, who in turn pressured teachers. Hall ended up collecting $580,000 in performance bonuses and was named "Superintendent of the Year" thanks to the amazing progress students seemed to be making on test scores. But really, what she did was "created an environment where achieving the desired end result was more important than the students’ education."

And that's the worst part of this scandal -- it hurt the kids. Instead of focusing on helping kids learn, educators were gaming the tests. And the tests failed to do what they were designed to do: Testing is supposed to reveal how well kids are learning.

If test scores are low, that could mean a school needs help. It could be more resources, or new teachers, or a different curriculum. But if you're tampering with test scores, you'll just hide failing or struggling schools. Cheating totally defeats the purpose!

I think what this scandal reveals is how much it's thrown our priorities out of whack. We've put too much pressure on kids and teachers to show improvement and perform well on paper. And in the end, I'm not convinced kids are getting a better education. I hope this scandal rocks the educators and parents so hard that we all start demanding change. Stop with the insane testing pressure and re-think all those rewards. It's time to go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to assess student competency.

Do you think there's too much pressure on school testing?

by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Replies (11-20):
by Ruby Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM
3 moms liked this

Absolutely.  Especially with standardized testing.  There has been no proof whastoever that standardized testing has any benefit whatsoever, and plenty of documented proof that it has plenty of detrimental affects on kids.  Get rid of standardized testing.

by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:51 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm very concerned that testing has negatively affected the curriculum.

by Thatwoman on Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:56 PM
1 mom liked this

I think there's far too much emphasis on testing, period.

Barfing the answers onto some form is not 'learning' anything but test-taking skills. There is not nearly enough emphasis on gathering evidence that the students understand any aspect of what they're memorizing.

In the Google/smartphone era, 'knowing' things is so very much less important than understanding, gathering information, analyzing the source and the material discovered. 

Schools should see if before 2025 they can get all the way to 1993, and incorporate the wealth of information available in nanoseconds, anywhere on the planet.

by Ruby Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Yes, all the children do is prepare to take tests.  The teachers job performance depends on how well their students test, the school and county funding depends on the tests scores - it's absurd.  There is no room at all for creativity or spontanaity.  There is no fun in learning when the whole curriculum is focused on tests.  I read that somewhere around 4th grade most kids "burn out" on school.  Fourth grade - that leaves eight years, plus college, to go with an attitude that school sucks.  Not good.

by Mahinaarangi on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM
1 mom liked this

Ive had / have three academics....and all three stress when it comes to tests and exams.  They are straight A students, they love their A's and the thought of being "less" than on a test score is not acceptable in their brain.

The eldest would suffer migraines to the point where he would eat a packet of panadol the week before and during exams.  My 14yo is well on the way to repeating what his brother was like.  In both cases, I went in, grabbed said textbook and work and took them up the street for a movie.  Told them that no test anywhere and anytime is worth a migraine.  Its ok to get a B.  It calms them for a short while...unfortunately I havent figured out how to cure it, hopefully I will before the youngest hits the full on exam years.

by Kellie on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:15 PM
My daughter is taking those tests this week. I stressed to her that they're not about her, they're about the school, so if she doesn't know an answer, pick a bubble and move on.
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by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:34 PM


by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:38 PM
no. and the fact is we have more vacation time less class/school time and we're behind and test scores. Buckle up ladies its a global economy/ world.
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

I think there is way to much pressure, I was always a good student and smart, but when it came to tests I would get very nervous and over think things and do bad on the tests even thought I knew the material on it very well!! I think tests should be purely pratctice and to see if the kids are understanding what they are being tought, not so much though as counting towards a final grade or if you pass into the next grade!

by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Yes I do.  This makes me not want to teach in U.S.A. even though I plan on going back to school for Early Childhood Education.

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