Standardized Testing – An Idea Whose Time Has Come … and Gone?

By | Published February 18 2013 by Northern Plains Drifter
The Saskatchewan government recently announced that “by the end of 2016, every Saskatchewan student between grades 4 and 12 will take part in yearly provincial standardized assessments.”
Anybody concerned with our children’s schooling would be wise to ask, “Why?”
As the thoughtful editorial in Friday’s StarPhoenix suggested, the provincial government has to make a better case for why they want every student in grades 4 to 12 to undergo this type of anxiety-creating assessment every year.
For one thing, it seems like the standardized testing craze that arrived so late in Saskatchewan might soon be sent packing elsewhere. B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix, widely expected to soon become premier, has stated that he will change B.C.’s FSA tests for all students in grades 4, 7 and 10 to a random sample test. Even Alberta’s Premier Allison Redford has considered a similar random sampling approach.
Educational leaders across the United States are also expressing doubts about the usefulness of these tests. Over 600 schools in Texas passed resolutions in 2012 demanding a reduction in high-stakes testing because they were ineffective. Indeed, the Republican-dominated House of the Texas Legislature put forth a budget for 2014-15 that entirely eliminated all funding for standardized testing. Resistance among educational stakeholders is gaining traction in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia and California.

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg is a leading educator in Finland and author of the popular book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? When Sahlberg was recently asked by Tom Shields of the University of Richmond (Virginia) what was the most important educational reform the U.S. could do to improve its school system, he quickly answered, “Eliminate high-stakes standardized testing.”

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One Comment to “Standardized Testing – An Idea Whose Time Has Come … and Gone?”

  1. I think the fact that there isn’t a more objective method of evaluation happens to be the real problem. Until something better is established, standardized tests are the way to go. I cringe when I say that but every other evaluator is very subjective. Since our system is a system of merit, it is only fair that those who can prove they have committed time to studying and understanding concepts that intelligent people have considered important should receive the rewards.

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