One-size-fits-all tests not the best system

The Tank

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you have a bad two or three days, you’re actually dumb.

That seems to be the new norm for education now that New York state is pushing for teachers and administrators to be judged, in part, by how well students perform on the state tests that will be taking place in April and May.

It seems weird to me that an entire school year will come down to a few days of testing, not just for the students but for the educators.

The idea of a student’s progress being linked to one test and not an entire year’s performance seemed off to me from the get-go. I also never liked the fact that if a child did not fare well on one test, they were put into what most schools call the A.I.S. program. While well intentioned, that could lead to another separation of students and to ridicule from peers.

Our family is now in its fourth year of dealing with these tests, and second with multiple students. So far, we have been fortunate to have students who perform well in school and on tests.

Take my wife, for example. She is very smart and knows her stuff, but the second you put a piece of paper in front of her that says the word “test,” she freezes. The answer to a basic math question she gave you 10 minutes ago now might as well be advanced molecular physics to her now.

So, should a student like that, who has spent all year showing that they know what is being taught, then be judged by one set of tests that cause them to freeze up and score a 1 or 2, instead of the 3 or 4 that they are more than capable of getting?

Keith Lobdell is the editor of the Valley News. He can be reached at keith@denpubs.com.

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