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Thompson: The Humiliation Of High-Stakes Standardized Testing

PearsonI cannot believe that education policy folks or, for that matter, executives of the Pearson testing company would have invested so heavily in bubble-in testing as a means of driving school reform if they knew and loved individual students in poor schools. I am sure that some teachers who embrace such testing have had some success with elementary students by turning testing into a game, and not a destructive end in itself.  I also suspect that the diverse children I met in the anti-testing rally in New York City are representative of the majority.

I have never met a teacher who could convince inner city high school kids that high-stakes testing isn't humiliating.   

Virtually all of my students volunteered accounts of the testing indignities that have been dumped on them, but I am particularly haunted by Jeremy, as I will call him.  This brilliant Native American gave into depression when stakes were attached to weekly benchmark assessments, meaning that half of class time was lost to testing.  In my non-tested class, Jeremy would periodically wave a standardized math or English test that he was supposed to have turned in for a grade.  "This is what they think of us," he would moan. Like nearly 40%  of that semester's sophomores, Jeremy dropped out was driven out by the test prep which drove out teaching and learning. That is why the Pearson anti-testing rally was so great.  It put faces on the lab rats children who are being robbed of their educations.  When reading Alex Kucznski-Brown's New York Standardized Testing Protest Brings Parents, Students to Pearson's Steps in the HuffPost, be sure to view the video and  the photos.  The pictures of Pearson employees looking down on those wonderful children are especially poignant.- JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.


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It goes without saying standardized tests aren’t written for the student, I think. It’s a process that tries to break down, into a single statistic, a person’s intellect in a 2-3 hour period. That’s unfathomable, and yet it’s the accepted norm.

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