John Oliver dedicated an entire segment of “Last Week Tonight” to taking on the idea of standardized testing.
Nothing defines off anxiety in the heart of a grade-school child more than the worlds “standardized testing.” It’s the bane of any student’s existence. And lately, students, mothers, and educators alike have begun pushing back on the ever-increasing number of tests children are subjected to.
Around the country, you’ll find tales like these( and hundreds more ), and it’s happening without regard for political affiliation 😛 TAGEND
Growing up, most of us probably recollect taking a test or two each year. But that’s not the case anymore … not by a long shot.
It turns out that children are basically in standardized test mode constantly . And when you’re busy cramming for the material that’s likely to pop up on a test, you’re not able to really learn .
To which Oliver responded :
Where did all these tests come from? To answer that, we need to go all the way back in time to 2002 for No Child Left Behind.
No Child Left Behind is a 2002 act of Congress that pushed standards-based education reform and set guidelines for the distribution of federal fund for schools based on performance.
While No Child Left Behind help support virtually every legislator in office at the time, it’s become something most try to hide from even though it’s still in effect .
It passed the House of Representative by a vote of 384 -4 5.
It passed the Senate by a vote of 91 -8.
( I challenge you to find major legislation that Congress can agree to at that rate these days .)
And so that brings us back to today. How do we measure advance? Exams. Plenties and lots of tests.
And this is where No Child Left Behind resulted us astray.
In Oliver’s segment, he highlights that the number of federally mandated tests has nearly tripled as the result of No Child Left Behind. Tripled !
And this doesn’t even take into account all the state-level tests that students “re going to have to” take.
But what’s incorrect with tests? For one, it creates a high-pressure atmosphere for students where they might not actually learn much.
People have questioned whether “teaching to the test” is truly the best use of students’ period. Also, when students are constantly put in high-stress situations, it’s simply not a healthy environment.
Did you know that some test administrators are informed on what to do if students vomit on their test pamphlets ?
This doesn’t even take into account the otherwise great those individuals who simply aren’t good test-takers.
Oliver presented a clip of a girl who was kicked out of her advanced language arts class after getting a low score on one of her standardized tests. It was absolutely heartbreaking .
These test-based standards hurt educators, too.
Teachers are often graded on how much students’ test scores improve over the course of a school year.
If standardized tests aren’t good for students or educators, who are they good for? Simple: the companies that stimulate them.
A handful of companies have a hold on the country’s standardized test industry, and this extends far beyond simply school-based tests.
With more and more mothers opting out of tests, John Oliver offered those companies a challenge: Fix it.
Read more: www.upworthy.com