Let’s face it – nobody likes taking tests. Exams, by nature, elicit a certain amount of anxiety. Tension. Maybe even fear.
But New York’s high-stakes standardized tests, given to all public school students, have rattled way more than a few nerves. Enough students have actually thrown up on their tests that schools are reportedly circulating procedures on how to handle vomit-covered tests.
One Long Island superintendent told the Wall Street Journal that some kids did, indeed, get sick on their tests. One student went to the bathroom and wouldn’t come out. Many dissolved into tears. Others simply refused to take the test.
It’s no wonder that parents, educators and even students are spearheading a small but growing revolution to opt out of standardized tests. From Seattle to Pennsylvania, more and more students across the country are boycotting tests that many say are increasing stress, narrowing curriculum and, at worst, leading to the kind of cheating exposed in the recent Atlanta Public Schools scandal.
The opt-out movement is a symptom of a broader problem. At their best, assessments should track whether students have learned the material they’ve been taught — and give students the chance to show off what they know. Test results should provide a clear view of where students are struggling so that teachers can help them improve.