01 April 2009

Standardized Testing Out of Control

First they started eliminating recess so that they could concentrate on increasing test scores. Now I read that many schools are testing Kindergartners! I think this kind of pressure is really bad policy. Kids can naturally learn to read. Forcing tasks that they are not ready for is detrimental.
...the kindergarten curriculum is what used to be the first-grade curriculum,” ...“What evidence do we have that this pushing is beneficial? While some children can handle the pressure, others cannot. One of my daughters struggles to keep up and hates school.”

...“In order to prepare kids ahead of time for the state tests, hard core curriculum must start in kindergarten. Our kids are not actually getting smarter. The scores are not increasing. And the rates of children with anxiety issues are increasing rapidly.”

...standardized testing and test prep have become daily activities in many public kindergartens. Teachers say they are under pressure to get children ready for the third-grade tests...

The findings are documented in a new report, Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School, released on March 20 by the nonprofit Alliance for Childhood. The authors, ... say that kindergarten testing is “out of control.”

...“Rigid testing policies do not make sense in early childhood education,” states the Alliance for Childhood report. “Standardized testing of children under age eight, when used to make significant decisions about the child’s education, is in direct conflict with the professional standards of every educational testing organization.”

...“The vast majority of kindergarten teachers now spend some time each day on testing and test preparation, an activity that would have been considered irrelevant and even harmful in the past.”

...a kindergarten teacher in Zanesville, Ohio, wrote to her local paper, “All we are doing is stealing childhood from innocent children. Shame on our government for making us be thieves. Shame on them for not listening to what children really need.”

...Long-term studies suggest that the early gains fade away by fourth grade and that by age 10 children in play-based kindergartens excel over others in reading, math, social and emotional learning, creativity, oral expression, industriousness, and imagination....

2 comments:

corrinesan said...

the state of education mandates just makes my head spin and my heart ache. I am not opposed to testing - I think it can be a valuable tool. However, the addition of testing upon testing to each year (each month?) becomes so counter-productive. The first few years of school should be the foundations for learning to learn. So many of the basics of THINKING are lost when children are simply taught to jump through hoops (and fill the bubble). So much of learning is about a PROCESS - and the joy of making breakthroughs and connecting ideas... and that's all lost when education is reduced to a checklist of what children in ___ grade need to know.

CityKin said...

^ I totally agree. The first several grades especially should be about playing peacefully and learning how to learn.