K-12 schools across the nation administer standardized tests throughout the school year. Recently, these school tests have caused a great deal of controversy as parents, students, teachers and administrators are divided as supporters and opponents.
Supporters of standardized testing say the exams are a valuable tool. They say the tests provide a measurement of what students have learned throughout the school year. Also, the tests unveil a student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Recently, one of the largest groups of standardized testing opponents has been seen in Central New York. Many parents from this area are participating in the Opt Out movement, a movement seeking to end high-stakes testing in New York State and across the nation. Opponents of standardized testing believe the tests stress out students and that there is too much emphasis on these tests’ scores. Opponents also explain the grading system only allows for a limited look at student capabilities. They state that because some tests require rigorous preparation, valuable teaching time is taken away from the students to focus on test preparation instead of learning and creativity.
The parents express their concerns about the stress the tests puts on students, and the position their children are put in, with the difficulty of standardized tests rising yearly. Many also disagree with the scoring system of these tests. Standardized tests give a single score and some teachers, parents and administrators feel this scoring system is not dynamicenough.Although the New York State Department of Education says parents cannot choose to “opt out” their children from testing, those who are against the tests are removing their children from school at the start of a test, giving their children books to read during test time, or have the students politely hand their tests back to their teachers.
Some Central New York administrators are trying to counteract the opposition by explaining the benefits they see from the standardized tests. These proponents believe the tests keep students on track and shows where a student stands on the path to college and career readiness. Administrators are also concerned a lack of student testing in this area may result in reduced funding. In New York State, schools that test fewer than 95-percent of their students are seen as a “failure” to meet adequate yearly progress.
So, as tests are administered through the upcoming weeks, some students will be bubbling in answer sheets, while others may be taking test time for other activities.
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