Testing Is NOT Learning

Standardized tests have always played an important role in public education. But with the development of No Child Left Behind during George W. Bush’s presidency, high-stakes testing has become a bigger and bigger problem not just for the students taking them, but for teachers and schools as well. To be fair, the trend for creating more testing isn’t just a Republican tool. Oklahoma’s End of Instruction tests were developed under Democratic Gov. Brad Henry and Pres. Obama and his education secretary Arnie Duncan pushed Race to the Top, which required states to tie testing to evaluations. Now, we find ourselves drowning in a culture of testing. What does the general public think of teachers and testing?

According to a 2013 Pi Delta Kappa/Gallop Poll

  • More than 70% have trust and confidence in public school teachers.
  • 58% do not support using test scores as part of a teacher’s evaluation.
  • 75% believe the increase in testing has hurt instruction.
  • More than 90% believe activities such as band, drama sports, and newspaper are important.


U.S. public schools spend $1.7 billion annually on standardized tests.


An OEA poll in Fall 2013 ask teachers how much time they spent preparing students for tests.

# of hours spent weekly on test prep
41% = 13 hours or more
25% = 21+ hours

 

# of hours spent weekly on other assessments
1-6 hours = 34%
7-12 hours = 22.4%
13+ hours = 17%


What OEA members say about high-stakes testing:

“With so much focus on testing, students are missing out on learning everyday life skills and the ‘Big Picture.’ They are so focused on memorizing and anxiety/stress levels are at an all-time high with these 9 year olds…”
“I have seen a significant decline in student performance since testing became the buzz word.”
“(High-stakes testing) is the death of a generation of creative, innovative thinkers.”
“High-stakes testing is a complete waste of time and money. The millions spent on testing could be put to use in the classroom on things that can directly help the kids learn.”
“Testing culture is killing us.”

 

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