I think that anyone who has read my blog over the past couple of years, knows that I am not a supporter or fan of Standardized Testing. I strongly believe that it does not measure student progress appropriately and using it to measure of schools or teachers is misuse of what the tools were originally designed for.
Unfortunately, the reality in the United States is that Standardized Testing is a fact of life in education whether you are a student, teacher, administrator, parent or politician. Right, wrong or indifferent Standardized Testing is how OUR Federal and most State Educational Leadership has chosen to measure progress in education. I am not going to get into the negativity (that has been done all too often) it has created in the classroom and other places, but instead look at the reality of the situation.
No Child Left Behind is a law, that was passed by our elected officials and it uses Standardized Testing to measure school progress and requires that almost all students be tested. Irregardless of whether you believe it is a good or bad law, it is the law and if it is not followed there will be consequences for the schools and everyone who is associated with them.
The present administration and their policies appear to reflect a continuation of Standardized Testing as their primary measurement tool and they will be in Office for at least 2 more years. Even if they were voted out in 2012, I do not believe that any significant changes in Educational policy would occur in a different Administration. I do not see the philosophies of Alfie Kohn or other opponents of Standardized Testing being selected for leadership positions in this Administration or any possible replacement.
So where does that leave us — with Standardized Testing being used as the primary measurement tool for the foreseeable future. Based on this reality bitching and whining about how bad Standardized Testing is not having any positive affect or making any changes to those policies. We have had 8 years of this and a change of Administrations without any affect on those policies.
Has/Is this negativity towards Standardized Testing (whether accurate or not), contributed to some of the low test scores whether we realize it or not? If we are negative about these tests in our classrooms and schools, don’t our students pick up on this negativity that we have provided given them?
What effect does our negativity have on test scores…I believe that it does have a negative affect on a student’s scores or whether they even show up (either physically or mentally during the test). We have complained about these tests with our “comments” so often that our students just blow them off as unimportant, when in fact they are important to the school, its reputation in today’s world and possible funding streams.
This negativity is unfair to our students and we need to look at ourselves to see if there is a way that we can positively spin the Standardized Testing into at least something that we are neutral about and loose some of the negative image we give these tests while at school.
Does this mean I will stop thinking that Standardized Testing is appropriate for the ways they are currently being used – NO and I will continue to work/discuss ways to change what I consider a bad policy, but I will do this outside of school.
In school I owe it to my students and yes to my administrators to support or at least not interfere (intentionally) with policies that are in place that they have to enforce (even if they often don’t support them either), to ensure that our students do the best they can on their mandated testing.
I know that this is not what I want to do, but sometimes when you can’t change “what is”, you need to change your approach, otherwise people stop listening and tune you out. I learned in the military that sometimes you have to make the best of the situation no matter how much you disagree with the policy. Like I tell my kids, sometimes, you just have to fake it until you make it.
I know that some will say I am co-opting my position, but to them I say I am facing reality that Standardized Testing is going to be around for the foreseeable future and we need to acknowledge that fact.

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