This commentary by David C. Berliner & Sharon L. Nichols was published back in March on Education Week. We all need to add this to our arsenal of facts about high-stakes testing. I don’t know if you will be able to access it from Education Week or not so I have also found a link on a forum where you can read it. I want it in my list of references on this topic. The authors conclude the article with this paragraph that says it all in my mind
Our research informs us that high-stakes testing is hurting students, teachers, and schools. It is putting the nation at risk. By restricting the education of our young people and substituting for it training for performing well on high-stakes examinations, we are turning America into a nation of test-takers abandoning our heritage as a nation of thinkers, dreamers, and doers.
The authors have documented hundreds of examples of the ways in which high-stakes testing corrupts American education in a new book, “Collateral Damage.” Many of the examples in the article are ones that we have all seen. Here are a couple of more quotes:
Because so much depends on how students perform on tests, it should not be surprising that, as one Florida superintendent noted, “When a low-performing child walks into a classroom, instead of being seen as a challenge, or an orpportunity for improvement, for the first time since I’ve been in education, teachers are seeing [that child] as a liability.”
We also documented the narrowing of the curriculum to just what is tested, and found a huge increase in time spent in test preparation instead of genuine instruction.
I wonder when we will ever address how to improve student learning. When will we address the issue of nurturing “life-long learners?” Students should be encouraged to think, discuss, observe and create. Now in schools there is little time for that. High-stakes testing continues to be our biggest obstacle for needed change in education.