April 28, 2021

Jocelyn Turner: Opting Out

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Turner blogs at Eduhonesty, where she takes a look at the reasons for opting out of the 2021 Big Standardized Test.

We are using kids to get our government data, and “using” is exactly the right word. Then we give them their test scores, showing them exactly where they are in respect to everyone else. We have done this for decades, of course — but that annual test gained orders of magnitude of importance over the last twenty years, a legacy of No Child Left Behind. Meanwhile, electives and vocational/technical education faded or even vanished as school districts threw more and more of their resources toward classes directly designed to improve test scores.

Tests can be done without structuring a district’s whole instruction around beating the test — a process that makes education less fun and also devalues learning for its own sake. Districts should not be losing weeks of education to tests — especially since the educational losses from that time hit the most disadvantaged kids the hardest. During my years teaching, I never got a SINGLE, ACTIONABLE piece of information back from a state standardized test in time to be of any use to me in the classroom.

Weeks of lost time — with ZERO to show for it in the classroom itself.

That’s absurd. That’s true. And that’s why we have to pull back, pull our kids out if necessary, and shut this ridiculous data pipeline down.

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