A Month of Opting Out of Standardized Tests: Day 6

This is the sixth of 20 posts I will be writing during the PARCC testing window of March 9 – April 10.  If you’re interested in the growing master list of reasons we opted out of standardized tests in 2015, you can find it here.

Reason 6: Losing Perspective

In addition to the aforementioned issues to narrowed curriculum and harming children, our obsession with test scores and the data they harvest has made some people flat out lose perspective on what’s important in education.  Take for example the numerous threats that parents receive when they opt their children out of standardized tests.  As a member of several Opt Out groups I am witness to the trials parents face in order to stand up for their children.  I’ve seen accounts of parents around the country being told that their children would not be eligible for Advanced Placement classes, graduation, or extra curricular activities.  Worse, some parents have been threatened with retention or forced remediation.  

Your child's education  been reduced to a series of 1's and 0's
Your child’s education been reduced to a series of 1’s and 0’s

What do threats like these say about what we really care about in education?  Do we care about kids or the data they churn out?  Certainly data is important to good teaching, but the data provided by high stakes standardized testing is far less valuable than the data generated everyday by a child’s activity in the classroom.  Makes you wonder why it is really needed.

For tomorrow:  Why it’s really needed.