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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 (51-60):
JCB911
by Bronze Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:07 PM

It depends on the state.  In my state they luckily do not have to be tested.  Some parents may choose to have a standadized test done just to see where their kid is at.   I'm opposed to testing homeschoolers since it would contridict parents have control over their children's education if they had to "teach to the test" anyway.    For me, I don't need a test, I know what my kids know - I don't feel the need to prove it to anyone.

Quoting Kimberlynn:

This might be a stupid question, but if a child is homeschooled, does he or she have to take this test or something similar?


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TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:07 PM

 I did, while homeschooling.  I never tested my kids.  We focused on learning, and when they were really little, I let them focus on imaginative play....not rote learning.  We only did school about three days a week until later elementary.

Each one is now a top student in high school/college classes years beyond their school grade.   


Quoting kailu1835:

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.


 

kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:11 PM

That rocks!  My plan after 2nd grade for my son is to either homeschool or look at private schooling if I can find a scholarship.  I'm not keeping him stuck on a dead end road.  The only reason I'm not doing it right now is because I'm in school, and I don't feel like the indoctrination really starts setting in til around 3rd grade (from my look at the curriculum anyway).

Quoting TranquilMind:

 I did, while homeschooling.  I never tested my kids.  We focused on learning, and when they were really little, I let them focus on imaginative play....not rote learning.  We only did school about three days a week until later elementary.

Each one is now a top student in high school/college classes years beyond their school grade.   


Quoting kailu1835:

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.




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JCB911
by Bronze Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:11 PM

when  i was a kid we tested at the end of 4th grade, I think that was just a half day test.  And again in either 10th or 11th grade - that one was a whole day or two if I remember correctly.  Both, but especially the 4th grade one it was stressed that while we should do our best it doesn't matter for our grade - which made me wonder why we were doing it.

Quoting PamR:


You do have to do some amount of testing, but it's ridiculous now.  Not to mention not all kids test well, so they may be very bright and capabie, but they don't do well on tests.  The cookie cutter approach doesn't serve the students or schools, in my opinion.

Quoting JCB911:

I've been hearing second grade. That most kids are excied about school until about 2nd grade.  My kids are young and homeschooled but we have public school friends in K and 1st - the 1st grader has already said he hates school when asked why he said b/c learning is boring - he is 6.  Now IMO, no matter what he gets on some standardized test his school is failing him if he is 6 and all he has really learned in school is that learning is boring.  (I proved him wrong BTW,  he was on sping break and joined us for a simple electricity experiment that he was fascinated by.)

I cringe when I hear kids say their favorite part of school is lunch ,recess and gym (which pretty much ever kid says).  They should be excited to learn, at least a little, not go to school just to get through the boring stuff so they can play with their friends on the playground.

Testing is a necessary evil in my mind though (for those in building schools, not homeschoolers).  A test shows the teacher/parents/school board that the kids have learned what they were supposed to, shows them what areas they might need  help in.  Shows principals, school boards, admins where other potential problems are.   If my kid was going to school I'd want to know that their time wasn't wasted - unless you are a super involved parent I think tests show that  - to some degree.


Quoting PamR:

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.





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TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:14 PM
1 mom liked this

 I think the indoctrination starts really early. 

Remember that you can always find great groups and co-op classes for your kids, so they can have every fun experience you want for them, while you get to decline the ugly part of government schooling. 

Good luck to you! 


Quoting kailu1835:

That rocks!  My plan after 2nd grade for my son is to either homeschool or look at private schooling if I can find a scholarship.  I'm not keeping him stuck on a dead end road.  The only reason I'm not doing it right now is because I'm in school, and I don't feel like the indoctrination really starts setting in til around 3rd grade (from my look at the curriculum anyway).

Quoting TranquilMind:

 I did, while homeschooling.  I never tested my kids.  We focused on learning, and when they were really little, I let them focus on imaginative play....not rote learning.  We only did school about three days a week until later elementary.

Each one is now a top student in high school/college classes years beyond their school grade.   

 

Quoting kailu1835:

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.

 

 



 

MeAndTommyLee
by Platinum Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM

In my city those types of grants are directly given readily to schools for the purpose of ESL classes.  Therefore the kids that speak English do not benefit from these monies. 


Quoting Thomigirl:

Actually, that's not entirely true. Many entitlement grants are awarded based on low performance or the free and reduced lunch population. 

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Good test scores = federal money. 

 

 


 

SunshneDaydream
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 8:36 PM

I do.  My 3rd grader was in tears last week because she got a C on one worksheet.  Her teacher had apparently made her feel (by telling the whole class this) that getting C's would prevent them from moving on to 4th grade.  My brilliant little honor student, in advanced reading and math groups, was afraid she wouldn't get to 4th grade because she got a C.   Because her teacher is freaking out about SOL scores.  This is BULLSHIT. 

Kmary
by Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Thanks for the tip!  When I'm better about  using my neti pot regularly, I don't have this issue.   I need to be more diligent, as I used to be very prone to sinus infections and I don't want to go back to that!


Quoting TranquilMind:

 Hope you feel better.  I used to get sinus infections all the time, and then I started using a couple of drops of high quality colloidal silver (Health food store) in my throat and sometimes nose a couple of times a day, and I don't take antibiotics for it anymore.  Just thought I'd share.


Quoting Kmary:

 Thank you.  I'm 30 weeks pregnant with a sinus infection--that's why I was a bit whiney in that last post.  I'm a high school Spanish teacher by profession, though SAHM for now, and I have a lot of concerns regarding re-entering my field in a few years, despite absolutely LOVING my job.  Luckily, my subject is somewhat removed from a lot of this nonsense, as we currently have no standardized exam in high school languages in my state. 

I'd be happy to expand later when I'm feeling better.  I have a lot of opinions on the subject and have researched it quite a bit.  In short, I think standardized exams are just about the worst things to happen to education in a long, long time.


Quoting MsDenuninani:

 Really great points.  I wish you did have the time/energy because you're making a lot of sense.


Quoting Kmary:

There is so much wrong with standardized testing that I don't even know where to begin and am not sure I have the time or energy to even begin to talk about it all.  But here are a few things:

1.  Contrary to what the media keeps feeding us, the US is NOT behind all other countries academically.  If we removed stats for children with learning disabilities or who receive any sort of extra help or special educaiton services (the way EVERY OTHER COUNTRY DOES) we would be at or near the top in every single subject.  That is just plain fact.   The philosphy of the American education system is one of inclusion and as such, is quite distinct from the way every other country runs their schooling.  Also, the countries with the longest school days and highest academic outcomes also have the highest levels of teen suicide of anywhere on the planet.  There is a cost associated with all that rigorous curriculum and too many hours with their butts in their seats preparing for an exam.

2.  Texas was the first state to implement large encompassing standardized testing.  Their high school dropout rate immediately surged.  I'm sure I need not explain why a place filled with high school dropouts is not a good place to be.

3.  Standardized tests assess one thing and one thing only:  a student's ability to take a test (aka follow directions basically).  They can not assess curriculum, a teacher's teaching ability, a student's intellect, the appropriateness of the material covered, critical thinking skills, creativity and on and on. 

I fear for our future filled with a generation of people who can regurgitate iinformation and follow basic directions, but can't even begin to analyze or think critically about said information.









lilblu399
by Bronze Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Yes. I live in PA and dislike the PSSA even if I homeschool, I still have to deal with it. I remember in high school and I wasn't a stellar student but I excel at testing. I was supposed to in 11th but didn't have the credits so I was in 10th grade, a month before the testing, guess who had enough credits for 11th grade? I also remember the small meeting they had, "if you take the test, you'll get $50, do real well for $100" I never took the damn thing. It's so pathetic.
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happy2bmom25
by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 6:25 PM


1.  I beg to differ about being behind other countries education wise.  I live in a neighborhood where many of the men are engineers and have been imported here to the US.  Why don't we have our own engineers if we are not lagging behind? Do you believe that Americans just don't like those professions?

Not only are we importing people with math and science degrees, but they can only stay for a few years because they don't want their children to fall behind their peers in theri home countries.

I have also read that the testing is now all inclusive for everyone. Other countries are no longer leaving some scores out, or not testing.

2.  Do you really believe that kids dropped out of school because they had to take a test? That doesn't really make sense.

3. When I think of standardized testing I think of math first. If one can multiply then they should be able to do so on a test. If multiplication is the curriculum, then the teacher should teach it, the child should learn it and they should be able to prove competency by taking a test.  I do not understand all of the talk about teaching to a test. Honestly, if a child needs to know geometry, it should be taught and tested. Why is that a problem? Does it test intellect? No, but it does measure what the child has or has not learned.

I used to be an analytical chemist and our clients often tested us. Proving competency is not something that ends in school. 

Ultimately, I want the best for my kids.  My oldest is in the third grade, and I already fear that if I do not intervene then some career paths will not be options for him, and we live in a "great" district.  Third grade is too soon to be closing doors on the future, and if we don't have high expectations we may fail our children.




Quoting Kmary:

There is so much wrong with standardized testing that I don't even know where to begin and am not sure I have the time or energy to even begin to talk about it all.  But here are a few things:

1.  Contrary to what the media keeps feeding us, the US is NOT behind all other countries academically.  If we removed stats for children with learning disabilities or who receive any sort of extra help or special educaiton services (the way EVERY OTHER COUNTRY DOES) we would be at or near the top in every single subject.  That is just plain fact.   The philosphy of the American education system is one of inclusion and as such, is quite distinct from the way every other country runs their schooling.  Also, the countries with the longest school days and highest academic outcomes also have the highest levels of teen suicide of anywhere on the planet.  There is a cost associated with all that rigorous curriculum and too many hours with their butts in their seats preparing for an exam.

2.  Texas was the first state to implement large encompassing standardized testing.  Their high school dropout rate immediately surged.  I'm sure I need not explain why a place filled with high school dropouts is not a good place to be.

3.  Standardized tests assess one thing and one thing only:  a student's ability to take a test (aka follow directions basically).  They can not assess curriculum, a teacher's teaching ability, a student's intellect, the appropriateness of the material covered, critical thinking skills, creativity and on and on. 

I fear for our future filled with a generation of people who can regurgitate iinformation and follow basic directions, but can't even begin to analyze or think critically about said information.



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