Standardized Tests: Start ’em young!

Posted by on May 5, 2008 at 8:45 am.

Piggy-backing somewhat off of Dave’s earlier post here, my friend Brian Lewis-Beevers sent the following link to me:

Local Heroes: Seattle Teacher Suspended for Refusing to Give Standardized Test

Carl Chew, a 6th grade science teacher at Nathan Eckstein Middle School in the Seattle School District, last week defied federal, state, and district regulations that require teachers to administer the Washington Assessment of Student Learning to students.

“I have let my administration know that I will no longer give the WASL to my students. I have done this because of the personal moral and ethical conviction that the WASL is harmful to students, teachers, schools, and families,” wrote Chew in an email to national supporters.

School District response to Mr. Chew’s refusal was immediate. After administrative attempts to dissuade his act of civil disobedience had failed, at the start of school on the first day of WASL testing, April 15, Mr. Chew was escorted from the school by the building principal and a district supervisor. Mr. Chew was told to report to the district Science Materials Center where he was put to work preparing student science kits while district administration and attorneys consulted on an appropriate penalty for what was labeled, “gross insubordination.”

Read the rest here.  Chew gives a helpful list of reasons why that particular standardized test is erroneous.

Yes, my motivation for posting this stems from personal experience.  Mainly, I just don’t do well on standardized test.  I don’t flunk them, but, I do have an inability to do better on them the second time around.  It’s really disconcerting… they mess with my mind, to put it lightly.  I took the SAT twice in high school, and did about 100 points worse the second time around; I recently had a similar experience with the GRE, doing significantly worse the second time around.  But, I get pretty good grades in school, I think.  In high school, I was taught to write essays, not fill in bubbles.

I am aware that not everybody can even be in a financial position to take these tests a first time, let alone a second time.  My concern in posting this isn’t so much on college and graduate school entrance exams, but that around this country, most states start administering standardized tests like this when they are quite young, causing children around the nation to have warped views of their own ability to learn and perform in academic settings.  Kudos to Mr. Chew!