There is a lot of misinformation, intention (good and bad), double speak, and confusion floating around these days about standardized testing and its myriad uses. I’d like to go on record about this, and about why I object to the use of standardized tests as part of educator evaluations.
What scares me is the students who have a bad day and bomb the test, or don’t take the test seriously and bomb it, or are all tested out and bomb it, or didn’t get enough sleep or enough to eat or had no where to stay or had a fight with a best friend or…. And bomb the test.
What scares me is there being no good back-up plan for when something planned OR unplanned happens and I miss part of the school year because I had a baby or cancer surgery, and my students don’t have the benefit of my teaching, yet my worth and value as an educator is still based on their test scores.
What scares me is the thought of losing my entire livelihood due to any combination of those factors, my family losing their home and security.
What scares me the most is how no one who has the power to make a difference seems to see the reality of the situation, to listen and take action.
Would you live with that fear?
Think about it honestly. If you knew you would be fired because your patients had a high mortality rate, would you become an oncologist?
If you knew you would be fired because you didn’t get the EPA estimated gas mileage out of your bus on its daily route, would you become a driver?
If you knew you would be fired because too many people didn’t return their items on time, would you become a librarian?
Certainly, in any profession there must be accountability for performance of job duties. I have zero issue with being evaluated based on working my expected hours, getting the job done right even if it means working unpaid hours, being prepared, attending meetings, delivering engaging lessons, and even demonstrating that my students are gaining knowledge in my class. I wrote a whole post on that once…
What I DO have an issue with is spending thousands, millions, even billions of dollars on these tests, money that would be much better spent in the classrooms using a well-crafted, need-based funding method.
What I DO have an issue with is folks openly discussing the underserved, “failing” student populations while stubbornly clinging to the belief that somehow the diverting of funds from the classrooms to the testing system will make things better. What good is identifying these students if we’re not going to make significant, real changes to the very system that is forcing the inequities in education?
What scares me is that this seems for all the world like straight up common sense to me, yet I am clearly in the minority. And there would appear to be nothing I can do about that.