The Major Problems with Standardized Testing

Feb 10, 2014 | 8:00 am
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With the school year underway, many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that all of their kids are passing their subjects – after all that is the goal, right? However, there are several concerns that loom ahead for the continued educational growth of your child. What is the process of learning that your child is being exposed to? By asking certain questions you can easily consider whether or not your children will have continued success and growth with their learning.

Start by asking yourself whether or not your child is truly learning anything. Even if they are passing their subjects, are they having their curiosity satisfied, are the simply being taught, or are they actually being educated? There is a HUGE difference here. Learning is retention of the material and the ability to apply it to other situations, taught however is simply taking and passing tests.

Educators should be focused on making interesting lessons that are memorable. The process of learning is one that should satisfy curiosity and provide a sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction.

The fact is that “public” education has been designed for the general population. Every child is required to pass certain criteria of the planned, general curriculum. In some cases lessons are planned simply for the purpose of taking a test and increasing the percentage of students that pass in the district. This is not considered learning; it is not a challenge for your child. Teachers work on a constant basis to help you child learn and they want to teach. However, they are forced under the dictum of standardized testing that means that must actually “teach to the test.” This type of teaching does not even adjust toe material to reflect the socioeconomic, geographic or any other type of differences that are present.

It is true that anyone can learn to pass a test, but that is not the true definition of an education. Retention of the material is the definition of an education. Retention of the material is what truly marks a great education. It is the difference that exists between being educated and being taught. If a child is shown what to study for on a test, they will pass; however if they are unable to remember what was learned two years ago or have the ability to apply it in a logic manner, then they have truly been educated.

Now you are faced with the problem of how you can help your child become educated. There are a number of things that you can do as a parent, to ensure that your child is able to retain the material they learn and receive a great education.

You should ensure that you are aware of the curricula that are being offered at their school. Take not of whether or not the material is well diversified or if it is simply focused on the child earning passing grades. Also, notice whether or not the disciplines are interconnected, for example is the lesson being taught in history carried over to their language arts lesson?

Children are innately curious, which is a trait they are born with, not one that comes when they enter school. While having great teachers is an important part of the learning process, you are still the best educator for your child. You need to encourage your child to explore the arts, dance, languages and music, which are all known to contribute to your child’s actual intellectual growth.