Standardized tests are under scrutiny. As they should be.
Recently, the Senate education committee held a hearing on testing. There is even a draft bill giving a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.
But Education Secretary insist that annual tests should remain mandatory.
All the while parents, students and educators around the country are asking serious questions about the number of tests children are taking and the reasons they’re taking them.
Since No Child Left Behind became law, every state has been required to test every child every year in third through eighth grade in math and reading, plus once in high school. And districts have added many tests to follow on to state-mandated tests.
Teachers say that the entire school experience is being distorted by these tests and the school being worried about kids who are just on the edge of passing or failing the tests. Not whether the kids are doing really well or really badly.
So why these tests?
The core argument is that schools are forced to report the performance of disadvantaged groups, and instead of hiding those students behind the average, schools are responsible for the welfare and success of every single child. Therefore some civil rights groups are saying that equity must be ensured by testing every child every year.
Other groups say that equity isn’t just about measuring students, it’s about ensuring equal outcomes and equal access and equal opportunities, and that more testing is really going to do that.
What do we believe?
We know that when a kid is thought properly, when he or she are the stars of their own learning process; however you measure them, there will be progress. There will be learning.
That is why we are so proud of what we have built here. It is not about the testing. Not even about the results. It is all about learning. How the kids assimilate and understand what they are taught. How much stays with them for life.
Don’t you agree? Feel free to look around. A good place to start could be our “How it works” page.