To test or not to test…that is the question?
Why do we place so much emphasis on national standardized testing in early elementary years? Is it because we want to raise child prodigies? The next brilliant mind of the 21st century? Or is it possibly because the traditional educational system has brainwashed society to believe that standardized test actually measures intellect. Educators today use a combination of 2 types of standardized testing; achievement and aptitude.
5 nationally main achievement tests are: Standford 10, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Metropolitan Achievement Test, Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, and the California Achievement Test. These tests are mainly used in statewide elementary and middle school systems where the students’ ages range from 6-11. While the two aptitude test: SAT-1 and the ACT are more commonly used in high school and those entering colleges or universities.
Recently my children, who are homeschoolers, participated in the Standford 10. As a homeschool educator, I have the privilege of teaching my students the value of test-taking as a skill, not as a measurement of intelligence. While I value the art of test taking, I am appalled at the amount of pressure that is placed on traditional educators, parents, as well as small children. Many of the school systems teach curriculum throughout the school year, simply to pass the standardized testing. This often stifles teacher creativity is adjusting lesson plans to accommodate all learning styles: visual (spatial), aural (auditory/musical), verbal (linguistics), physical (kinesthetic). One of the numerous benefits in home educating children is that parents are able to personalize lessons plans based on each child’s learning style.
Don’t get me wrong, testing is a vital part of our society. You should want citizens to take a driver’s test before being issued a license to operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery. I just don’t believe that so much pressure and emphasis should be placed on a test that doesn’t truly capture mastery or intellect in small aged elementary school students. Especially without taking into consideration the learning progress throughout the entire school year.