Is Testing Taking over our Schools? An Entire Faculty Says Yes and Not for the Better!

Dear Commons Community,

The entire faculty at P.S. 167 in New York City took a stand against standardized testing in an op-ed published by The Hechinger Report.  The piece decried standardized testing’s impact on their school. The teachers wrote that the tests have made students incredibly stressed and have detracted from students’ educational experiences.  Here is an excerpt:

“When they enter our school each fall, our sixth-graders write about their hopes and fears for middle school. This year, 35 percent said their greatest fear was failing the state tests. At one of the most socially difficult times of their lives, over a third of our children have more anxiety about standardized tests than any other issue.

…This year in our school, as in schools across the country, we have seen the number of standardized tests we are required to administer grow sharply, from 25 to more than 50 (in grades 6-10). In the next six weeks alone, each of our sixth-graders will be required to participate in 18 days of testing. The testing includes “3 days of state English tests, 3 days of state math tests, 4 days of new city English and math benchmark tests, and 8 days of new English, math, social studies and science city tests to evaluate teacher performance”

The faculty members wrote that they don’t oppose testing on principle.  However, they recommended that officials allocate resources toward developing other ways of assessing educational quality.   Furthermore,  they question an assessment system in which 70 percent of students are labeled “failing.”  “This is not a function of low performance, but a deliberate decision by the state to increase the number of students labeled “failing in order to create more pressure on teachers and schools, and to gain public support for new—untested—reform initiatives. We question the collateral consequences of such a mechanism for educational change.”

Collateral damage indeed!


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