About a month ago, I was commandeered by our local news media station to talk about what I thought about standardized testing in schools. Because it was off-the-cuff - they pounced on me outside of Boy-o's school, post-drop-off, with a sleeping Girlio on my shoulder - I was, erm, less than eloquent. I pretty much stammered my way through a windier choppier version of: 'they suck.'
Now, there are all kinds of good, good reasons why this is so. Children learn different things, at different paces, in different ways. Children respond differently to the pressures of testing and examinations. Standardized examinations leave no room for the kinds of life-based contextualized learning that matters the most. And because the 'success' rates (and in the U.S., the funding!) of schools are in large part measured by standardized testing scores, there is immense pressure on administrators and teachers to spend scads of time preparing students to do the kinds of rote memorization that standardized testing requires. Which means far less time spent on developing a broader, more balanced way of looking at particular students' abilities to excel and achieve scholastically. So, yeah - like I said before: 'They suck.' I'd like to see them done away with. Permanently.
Recently, an excellent piece was written in the Washington Post about a school administrator that took, and did abysmally on their own standardized test.