Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Why Standardized Tests Are Harmful To Kids






I live in Texas, which means my kids have to take the STAAR test.


This stands for State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness and YES, you can certainly opt out but it's not always easy. (Click here on how to do it. You'll find the proper letter to turn into schools.)


Whenever it's time to take these tests, I'd notice a change in my kids. They dreaded going to school. And I can't say I blame them. Should I opt them out of the tests? Well, I asked, and they're worried they'll be sent to a room and be bored. They also don't want to be different from their friends. So yes, they do take the test.


But here's why I find these tests to be harmful rather than beneficial.




1. It causes unnecessary worry in children. We always talk about how we want to boost children's emotions, how the world is full of cyber bullying and scary things, and guess what? This adds to their stress.



2. Teachers have to waste their time teaching kids how to take a test. They have to constantly go over how to get good scores, how to fill in the bubble properly, and attempt to get kids excited about it. Newsflash: doesn't work. They could be learning more about history or science, but nope, let's go over ad nauseam how to fill in a stupid bubble.



3. It messes up schedules. This might not be a concern to some, but it's a concern to the kids who rely on schedules. My son has autism and yes, he has extra accommodations, but sometimes the bizarre schedule upsets him. Once he wasn't allowed to get his lunch from his locker because the standardized test person said he should have gotten it in the morning. All he got was an apple from another kid who didn't want it from their lunch.



4. I've seen kids panic over these tests. This goes along with number 1, but seriously, I saw one girl burst into tears. I watched as the teacher tried to comfort her, but the girl kept saying, "I don't want to fail. What if I fail?"





5. The lame pep rallies for the standardized tests tend to irritate kids. Some schools try to make everyone excited about these tests and boost spirits, which is great when they are small, but as they get older, they see right through it and they begin to feel patronized. Some schools have the older kids go through the halls while the younger kids clap for them and it's like, "Seriously?"



6. Some kids have to wait hours in a classroom. My daughter is in sixth grade, and she doesn't test until May. But 7th and 8th graders test in April, so on those days, she gets to sit in her advisory classroom for HOURS so they don't make noise for the test takers. HOURS when they could be learning. She said they got to watch Paw Patrol and Dora and I was like ?? (Not the entire time. They did do worksheets too.)



7. I'll say it again: not every kid learns the same. So these tests are a waste of time. Stop trying to lump every kid in the same circle as one. My son has failed this English test twice, because it takes him longer to read. Yup, he got extra time, but it doesn't help. Get this: they wanted him to go to SUMMER SCHOOL to learn how to take the STAAR English test properly. And he had a B in his REAL English class. I basically laughed and said it wasn't happening.




It would be amazing if Texas could take the first step in eliminating state tests. Who knows? Maybe other states would follow suit. Yeah, you CAN opt your kid out, and believe me, if things don't change, I might look into this. (Again, if you're in Texas, go HERE to learn how to opt out.)



So how do you feel about standardized tests?





22 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your perspective on this. I was definitely one of those students who stressed like crazy for every single test. I agree that not all students learn the same way and there should be changes made.

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  2. I used to work in the school system, back in the day, and I didn't like it then. Not every person tests well. Great post

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  3. Kids get bored and just start filling in circles. Waste of time, energy and money and really what does it prove.

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  4. Tests are stressful no matter your age but what bothers me most about them is that we all learn differently and react different to things yet we are all tested in the same way?

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  5. I am with you on this I think tests are awful - we aren't all programmed to learn or do things in the same way and testing everyone in one format is just leaving some kids behind.

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  6. Our daughter is going through the process for the first time this week. She likes it because they don't get homework on the PSSA days. I guess at the end of the day, we'll all have good little test takers. Not sure if they'll have learned much though!

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  7. My kids are doing standardized testing this week. My son is having a really hard time adjusting to the change in routine and all of the sitting still.

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  8. As a former teacher, I have to agree with you on so many levels. I understand the rationale of the standardized tests, but I don't think they work the way they should. Too much emphasis is put on the tests instead of our kids' education.

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  9. I agree with these! I believe other culture doesn't allow tests especially during their early school years.

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  10. Ugh AMEN. These tests are absolutely ridiculous. I wish they'd get rid of them and just let children learn.

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  11. I don't know why grade school kids are taking standardized tests. My kids are taking these tests to see if they should go into the next grade, which is just silly because their performance in school and other factors should go into this as well.

    My son has ADHD and these are the worst for him. Kids aren't designed to sit and take tests for long periods of time and many of them can't focus long enough to fill out these tests and some of them just don't understand how "important" these tests are.

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  12. I do like to know where my children are at compared to other children their age but the problem is, tow of my three kids are not good test takers... and my third, well, she is only K5 so the only reason I don't count her as a "not good test taker" is because she hasn't really had to take many tests yet to know for sure. I agree with you though!! I always stressed and so do my boys!

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  13. It doesn't make much sense for the schools to require teachers to teach students how to take a test. Sounds like it takes way too much time.

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  14. I grew up taking standardized test and hate them! It wasn't hate because i wasn't a good student, i am an A student but i feared them to death ughhhh!!! Great post.

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  15. I really agree with your point of view. We can't assume kids are the same hence, we also cannot assume they learn the same.

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  16. Everyone learns things in their own way and in their own time. Some schools don't have as good, or not as good access to the materials they need to learn!

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  17. I can see how my kids are starting to stress about them. In my opinion there is a lot that can be done for education in our country. We need to make this a priority and understand that every kid learns differently and a test not always shows what every kid knows.

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  18. I really enjoyed this post. Test are different for everyone and it's important to remember that.

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  19. I personally hate standardized test. Sometimes teacher don't give any extra time and I guess this is not fair. My niece also failed in test.I love reading your articles.

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  20. I like your p.o.v o it and I dislike it too. But teachers need to understand that too.

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  21. I think the problem is not only do they end up teaching what to do on the test, but their focus is just on the test materials themselves and not other useful information. It's sad what they do to kids.

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  22. I hated standardized testing when I was in school. I am pretty smart (ranked 27 out of my class of 305), but I always did terrible on the standardized testing. I don't think it accurately shows the knowledge a student learns while in school. I had test anxiety and would overthink my answers to the questions which made me score lower than I should have. Colleges then use this information to help determine who gets into their schools. I think they should get rid of these types of tests completely.

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