Thoughts on Standardized Testing

Until lecture this past week I thought of standardized testing as an annoying, but mandatory, part of teaching without giving much thought to it. However, if there is one thing that university has taught me it’s how to think critically. 

I am still conflicted on this issue. I know that many educators are 100% against standardized testing, and I understand why. Maybe I haven’t had quite enough time to reflect on the issue yet, but as of now I can say I do have conflicting thoughts on it. 

On one hand, it does go against everything that we have been taught. There is a huge emphasis on differentiation, individualization, equity, and multiple intelligences in this program, all which I strongly believe in and am 100% going to practice in my own classroom one day. Standardized tests don’t allow for any of that, and increase feelings of incompetence and frustration for students. That is obviously not setting students up for lifelong learning. Another huge disadvantage is for those ESL students, as they are at a huge disadvantage. With Canada becoming more and more diverse and multicultural, there is no way to get around that. 

That being said, and at the risk of being disagreed with, I don’t want to take standardized testing off the table just yet. I think that I would like to see where my students stack up against the average. I think more than anything i would use the testing as a guide. I’m not sure that there is anything wrong with that. I’m not sure if this is naive or not, but I feel like there could be a way to use standardized testing to foster learning. 

I’m not saying I’m eager to use standardized testing whatsoever, but I’m not sure the idea has to be dismissed so harshly yet. I would find it beneficial if they took standardized testing out of school altogether, but while they are still in the classrooms, I think we should take advantage of them in any way that we can. Thoughts?

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