How many of students have stressed about the SAT’s and the ACT’s in high school or the Praxis, MCAT’or LSAT’ in college? Many students face the stress of studying for these tests that one’s focus of studying has forced teachers and students to conform to a certain type of learning. The education system in today’s society has been narrowed down education by standardized testing.
Standardized testing is the key reason that schools focus their lesson plans on specific subjects, such as math, science, reading and writing. But has the focus blinded the vision on keeping students well rounded? What happened to foreign languages, art and music classes?
They have slowly vanished behind the scenes, taking a backseat to math, science, reading and writing. One family in Spain had three children were could speak other languages. Two out of the three children spoke four languages, and the third spoke three. The two spoke Portuguese, French, Spanish and English, while the third spoke all but English. In the United States, people have been seen getting angry when walking the streets and hear people speaking in other languages.
Standardized tests, like the ones stated above, have pushed out languages, art, music, health and physical education classes. The first thought is that the talents of students are being suppressed. When students who are talented artistically, musically and poetically, what emphasis are being placed on those talents and what type of motivation is been given to students to be different and become individuals? There is no emphasis placed on those talents and no motivation given to our students to let their talents fully shine.
There is a chain of people and things that have been affected by these standardized tests: super-intendants, principles, teachers, students, lesson plans and academic standards are affected by what “standards” standardized tests set on school and the people and things within the schools.
Teachers have to keep in mind that their lesson plans need to coincide with what the test questions. Basically, teachers and school systems started teaching to the test. The focus of schools has not only taken away any focus from art, music, health and physical education but set standards for schools to place more emphasis on a few subjects. School system become conformed to these standardized tests in order to have their students do well because if students do not produce good results on these tests, then is negatively reflects on teachers.
When the results of a standardized test come back positive, the funding from the government increases. When the results of these tests come back negative, warnings are sent out and funding either remains the same or decreases. It is the rewarding system to conform to the standards set. The schools with the ‘better’ teachers produce better results on the tests, receiving more money for computers, programs, buildings and more updated textbooks.
What can be asked here is how do these people who set these standards and create these tests expect those schools, teachers and students to do better if they are not provided with the proper funding in order to give their students the most access to the most knowledge?
In addition, one may ask who is left to decide these standards. How is it decided what people will create these standardized tests and when the standards are changed, which is the group that decides? What process was taken to have these men or women sitting at tables creating these tests and standards? This person who has the power to decide curriculum is known as the philosopher king, as stated by Joel Spring in his book “Wheels in the Head” that is being read in the EDF 300 class taught by Professor John Elmore. Someone is setting up this curriculum and one can ask who is doing this and why are they the ones who can sit down and decide the curriculum and the standards for that curriculum.
Hopefully, in the future, students will begin to think critically on the education system, and not be afraid to expand their own spectrum of knowledge. This provides a person with a well-balanced personality in order to live life to the fullest by not simply studying math, science, reading and writing but working on art, poetry music, and traveling in addition to the “standard” curriculum. Take advantage of all the information there is in this world and question it.
Suzanne Brady is a fourth-year student majoring in Spanish education. She can be reached at SB619873@wcupa.edu.