A Month of Opting Out of Standardized Tests: Day 7

This is the 7th 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 7:  Losing Even More Perspective

I originally planned to get into some of the reasons we’ve become so addicted to test score data today.  However, it was brought to my attention that I forgot one way in which we are losing perspective in yesterday’s post.

We have a lot of readers who are teachers from around the country.  One of them emailed me through the site with this example of how perspective has been lost in their school.  I share this with you anonymously because teachers are in danger of losing their jobs if they are critical of how far we’ve gone in search of higher test scores.

“Today our jobs were threatened if our students aren’t proficient on the exam.  The principal actually printed out the rules and highlighted sections of it. At this point I’m not sure what to do. Is this happening at other schools? Is this just part of it?  Instead of support from our department heads we get threats. I never imagined it would be like this… What will they do if our students aren’t proficient? They have resorted to fear tactics the day before the test… I’m pretty disgusted. I know my students in particular will not be proficient. Most of them haven’t been in the country for more than six years. Attendance rates are dismal. I can’t imagine how I could be held accountable for their scores.”

Targeting Teachers Won't Work
Targeting Teachers Won’t Work

I normally don’t like to use anectdotal examples like this one to make an argument, but I can tell you that this isn’t the first I’ve heard.  You might not have heard anything about this yourself, but that isn’t surprising.  Teachers who speak out are in danger of losing their jobs.

I find it curious that some people believe that threatening teachers will actually improve test scores since it definitely doesn’t work for students.   More lost perspective I suppose.

For Tomorrow:  Why test scores are really needed