Standardized testing and learning

A middle school teacher in Nebraska, on mandatory standardized testing:

Politicians (and business people/capitalists) are competitive. They have a challenge, they try harder, and succeed. They see this as the solution to education: raise the bar, tougher standards, more competition. They don’t see the reality, that not everyone is as competitive as they are.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but what about those who aren’t tough?

Students are the ones in charge of their education. They decide if they will learn or not. If they see or predict or experience failure, they don’t try.

The last decade or so of assessments have seen slight increases in achievement, but increased dropout rates and lower graduation rates.

Assessment needs to be a tool to help students succeed, not a means to compare schools/districts/states and punish those which do not measure up.


Students and their families are the ones who are/should be accountable for their education, not schools, districts, states.

“Public education system” is a misnomer: Public schools can provide only an opportunity to learn, not a guarantee to educate. If students won’t (or can’t) do, then teachers can’t teach.

To hold schools accountable for what is almost completely beyond their control will not increase learning. As we have seen in Houston, it will instead increase lying.

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