Many stakeholders, from experts to administrators, have opined on the future of America’s schools. But as more and more states pass laws tying teacher evaluations to standardized test scores, one voice heard less often is that of the people who will have to take these tests: students.
The Charlotte Observer sought out that voice in two articles posted Monday and Tuesday, asking local students whether they thought there are too many standardized tests and whether teachers should be evaluated using these tests.
The response? A loud chorus of responses against the testing emphasis. Beyond the distaste with tests, the students generally opposed the practice of linking student performance with teacher performance and pay. Here are a few excerpts of their answers:
End the testing push, wrote Christian Hall, a 15-year-old in Lake Norman Charter School:
At the end of the year many students get stressed out because of all the testing. You learn many things the entire year, then are forced to remember and review everything in about one to two weeks. It is a huge work load. Instead of having a big test at the end of the year, maybe just test after each quarter. You wouldn't have to take many tests at one time.
Jennifer Inskeep, a 17-year-old student at Myers Park High School, wrote that she took issue not with the number of tests, but with:
the standardization. Teachers don't teach identically, students are not equally motivated to attain and retain knowledge, not everyone performs identically on tests, even assuming identical knowledge and skills.
In place of standardized tests, she suggested tracing how much students know at the end of the year versus what they knew on the first day of classes.
Tests should be limited to allow for learning, according to Dajha Medley, a 15-year-old student in North Stanly High School:
School and classes shouldn't be based on just giving tests, although that's what it has become now. The last few weeks of school tend to be devoted to reviews and preparing students for major tests.
Medley added that evaluations and pay should not be tied to scores, because “some students do not care about school, let alone taking tests. So, if the amount of money and teacher evaluations' is determined by student performance, not many will be successful.”