Tested to Death in the Maryland Schools
By Thomas A. Bauder
I am an English teacher at a Maryland high school. Of the five weeks we have been in session this year, I have been able to teach for almost, but not quite, three. The other 2 1/2 weeks were dedicated to testing.
We have way too many standardized tests, which take up too much time and effort and cost too much. One must ask whether the data obtained from all these long, dull tests are worth the cost in money, effort, time and student motivation.
Why would students want to come to school when they will be forced to take yet another test? We wonder sometimes why so many kids cut school. The miracle, for me, is that so many come.
I want my students to know facts, which these tests do measure, but I also want them to become more mature, responsible members of society. The qualities and skills that I think are most important in my students — motivation, responsibility, integrity, initiative, creativity, interest, risk-taking, honesty and curiosity — aren’t measured on these tests. Sure, it’s hard to measure such factors, but teachers do it every day. So do employers. If one of our goals for secondary education is to prepare students for the workplace, we need to help students develop the qualities that will keep them employed.
We live in an increasingly technological age. To install, maintain and staff an adequate technology component at my high school would involve spending a significant amount of money that’s not readily available in today’s economy. Perhaps if we spent less on all those tests .....
| September 30, 2009; 10:16 AM ET
Categories: Maryland, schools
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