Teachers refuse to give standardized tests to kids
Maybe there is a lesson in this for American teachers.
Saying that they are sick and tired of forcing kids to take standardized tests, thousands of teachers in England are refusing to administer high-stakes standardized tests in reading writing, spelling and math this week.
British newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, are reporting that as many as half of the estimated 600,000 primary school students due to sit for tests will not take them because their teachers have decided to take a stand against them.
Teachers are giving normal class lessons but won’t administer the tests in a strike called by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers after a ballot of members earlier this year. Head teachers in Britain are the same as American school principals.
The organizations say that there is too much pressure on teachers to “teach to the test” to get high results, and that head teachers can lose their jobs if they don’t boost results. They also say that head teachers can lose their jobs if test scores are not high enough.
There’s more. The Telegraph reported that children’s author Alan Gibbons lamented the fact that students are no longer reading whole books as much as they used to but are instead being given excerpts to “spot the metaphor or the simile.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
These same complaints, of course, have been heard for years in American schools as a result of the No Child Left Behind law, which put standardized testing in the forefront of school reform.
There have been isolated cases of teachers refusing to give tests to some children but no mass action.
But the teachers in England have some support from a part of the government. A House of Commons school committee recently said in a report that the system of high-stakes tests “reduced teachers’ scope” to be creative. The legislators called for more informal assessment by teachers in the classroom, combined with a system of sampling to keep a check on national standards.
How unfortunate this is happening across the Atlantic and not here.
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| May 12, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories: Standardized Tests, Teachers | Tags: boycott in Britain, standardized tests, teachers, teachers boycott test, test boycott
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