Should Standardized Testing be Eliminated in Schools?

2 years, 5 months ago

Should standardized testing in schools be eliminated in schools in favor of other forms of assessment? I believe schools should teach more life lessons and teach how to create instead of textbook lessons. Should there be more “shop / home” education? Does the education system now bring out the best in students?

November 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

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Profile photo of Alex Alex (@apacheco10) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Should Standardized Testing be Eliminated in Schools? Yes.
Should there be more “shop / home” education? Yes.
Does the education system now bring out the best in students? No, government involvement has driven up costs and driven quality down.

I’m a firm believer of free education. Not in cost (although I believe that, too), but in freedom of choice. Right now, we’re pretty damn far away from that.

Enter: Summerhill School, Suffolk, UK — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summerhill_School

Founded in 1921 ahead of its time (as their slogan goes) and still is today! The biggest difference about this 5yo-18yo school from others is the courses — they’re 100% optional! They believe “children learn best with freedom from coercion” and the results show. The school doesn’t cookie-cut employees like most others, rather, it makes visionaries. Here’s an interview with one student named Susan, 16:

1) How old were you when you left Summerhill?
Sixteen.

2) What age did you come to Summerhill?
Eight.

3) Did you take exams at Summerhill? If so, what were they?
Yes, Drama, Rural Science, CDT, English CORE, English extended, combined science double award, biology.

4) What are you planning to do next?
Drama at College in London.

5) Do you have a long-term direction you see your life going in, e.g. becoming a Vet, acrobat, fashion show hostess etc, or is it undecided?
A famous actress.

6) Has going to Summerhill helped you to get interviews, jobs, positions on courses, and if so, how?
No.

7) What effect do you think non-compulsory lessons had on you?
All the kids who have come out of state schools on my course can’t read, I am one of the only fluent readers among them.

9) Do you think that non-compulsory lessons were an advantage or a disadvantage?
If we had compulsory lessons I would never have discovered that I want to be an actress, because I could choose to go to Drama. Going to lessons you enjoy really trains your brain to actually think for yourself and figure things out and have common sense. I don’t feel at all disadvantaged, in fact I feel advantaged because I know how to think for myself and work things out for myself.

9) What do you think Summerhill has contributed to who you are now?
Summerhill allowed me to be myself and approved of it rather than objecting.

10) What was the most valuable thing for you about going to Summerhill, and how do you think it is going to affect you?
There are lots things such as patience with other people, sorting things out for myself, finding things to do for myself, responsibility to myself and others.

11) Is there any way that Summerhill and the community of Summerhill has let you down?
Not really, it is cold in the winter in my room.

12) What have been other people’s reaction to you going to Summerhill?
“Are you allowed to smoke? Are you allowed to drink? Are you allowed to have sex All the time?” and things like that.

13) What will you miss about Summerhill?
Everything, the back door, being fined every morning (for getting up late), just everything.

14) How have you changed since coming to Summerhill?
I think if I had stayed at a normal school I would have ended up really hating adults. Already as it is I have a bit of a problem with adults sometimes – I think it would have been worse.

15) Are you looking forward to your future?
Yes, immensely!

16) Do you feel in control of your life?
Yes.

17) In your new environment there may be rules that you may not like, how will you deal with that?
I think I’ll just grin and bear it. If they are completely ludicrously unfair then I may have a word with someone about it.

18) If you had your time at Summerhill again, would you do anything differently?
I would have brought Jane up the minute she started bullying me instead of when she left.

Responses like that from a sixteen year old are extraordinary. I think the system speaks for itself. I agree with Ron Paul’s views about the education in our country now:

“I think that the smallest level of government possible best performs education. Teachers, parents, and local community leaders should be making decisions about exactly how our children should be taught, not Washington bureaucrats.”

– The federal government has no authority to oversee education
– Dissolve the department of education and allow states, local communities and parents to govern education as they see fit
– Advocation of more home schooling and/or apprenticeships
– When government gets out of the way, prices will drop significantly and alternative forms of education like apprenticeships will rightfully hold more value.

…whelp, I’m spent. Enjoy some bathroom literature.

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Profile photo of napathy napathy (@napathy) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Schools should be eliminated :)

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Profile photo of Marvie Marvie (@marvie) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Whoa, just got done watching a TED talk on a topic alike to this.
Should standardized testing in schools be eliminated in schools in favor of other forms of assessment?
I personally believe so. As a high school student, each time I have had to take a test such as this I cringe and cry. Why? These tests are awfully repetitive. No questions that I have encountered so far have not forced me to think outside the surface. Often times, a majority of the questions are “Did they spell the word correctly?” “Is this correct grammar?” “What literary devices are the author using (just the simple simile and personification stuff. No allegory or deep metaphorical things so far.)” Same level of difficulty for other subjects as well.
The difficulty does not come from the questions, but the amount of questions there are. M last STAR test had over 100 questions. For God’s sake, I would assume that after 50 questions you could pinpoint my level of proficiency.

Should there be more “shop / home” education?
I am not 100% sure what you mean by this, but I am going to take it as if you meant classes that make you interact with the material. Yes, I absolutely agree. Classes such as these can assist the student in what career path they might want to choose later in life. In my opinion, it can make them passionate about something. That’s what we need. All the time either I or another student sit in a class room with a monotone lecturer or someone who seems as if they have never heard about this subject they are teaching. We do not care about the class. If one does not care, one does not try. If one does not try, then most likely they wont learn. Furthermore, if they do not learn, then their is no meaning to the course. However, if you are passionate about a course, if you are giddy to enter the class, then it makes you try to be the best that you can in that class. You think deep, become creative, and learn something new every day. It is classes such as these that bring meaning to the educational system. Not mandatory classes.
Does the education system now bring out the best in students?
No. As mentioned before, it is my belief that to be the best that you can be, you have to be passionate about whatever you are going to learn. I see students that ditch school, text ALL class period, and generally don’t give a fuck about the class. They are not motivated. In my opinion, it is mostly the teacher’s job to get them motivated, get them excited about the subject. Because if you are ecstatic to learn, then you will be able to listen clearly and let the flow of information get to you easily.
I might have not answered this one as clearly and I apologize for that. Well, thanks if you read this all.

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Profile photo of yoinkie yoinkie C (@yoinkie) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

@apacheco10, is giving an example of someone who after an education, has chosen to be an actress(which is basically what a person who doesnt like school or learning, dreams of becoming)really the best example to show?

And while giving local and state govt control their own education system sounds like a good idea…how would Colleges standardize the application process? Seems like you would only have the choice of going to your own state college/university as other states would have a completely different highschool education system.

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Profile photo of Alex Alex (@apacheco10) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

@yoinkie, You’re right, she isn’t the best example. There weren’t too many interviews to choose from. Hers was shared because I enjoyed her answers regarding individualism and personal freedom. I felt it would be nice to share, even if it was from a 16 year old.

That’s probably how it would have to be, unless colleges focused more so on their interviews with students rather than their test scores. I’ll admit that this would be REALLY time consuming and more expensive than deciding by test scores. But with reform of the educational system, this could be possible as funds could be allocated.

Regarding standardization, I don’t believe it mixes well with education at all. Every person is different. With this inevitably coming age of having computers/machines doing our manual labor for us, we should be encouraging free thinking. More free thought would evolve the world so much quicker than training people to do repetitive tasks.

If colleges/universities countrywide invested the money and time to do interview, transfers would be possible. Should we go deeper into this hypothetical scenario or does that answer your question? :)

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