8 Reasons Why I HATE Standardized Tests

Time to end standardized testing!

Before I begin, let me just say that I love homeschooling. Truly. In my opinion, there is no better option for my children’s education. Unfortunately, though, around this time every year, I tend to get a bit cranky.

After spending the past nine months learning in freedom with my children, the time draws near for us to complete our annual homeschool obligations for the state- namely, evaluations and standardized testing. Since I happen to have an awesome evaluator, the evaluation doesn’t really bother me. What really fires me up, though, is the fact that, in our state, homeschooled students are forced to take standardized tests in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades.

Why???

I’m well aware that the public education system is obsessed with tests. You’d have to live under a rock for that to be news to you. What baffles me most is that, while it’s clear to most sensible people that this testing environment is hurting our children, not only do they continue on with it each and every year, but some states (like mine) force it upon families (also like mine) who have nothing at all to do with the public school down the street.

After sitting here today for the better part of six hours, watching my daughter suffer more stress in this one day than she feels all year (all because of a test), I’m absolutely compelled to get this off my chest.

8 Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are the Bane of My Existence

1. They’re pointless.

These tests aren’t an accurate measure of learning. All they are is a reflection of who tests well, who memorizes well (only to forget later), and who guesses well. Want to know how a student is really doing? Talk to them. Interact with them. Focus more on the child than on their stanine scores.

Sadly enough, I know that will never happen in our schools, because these tests serve one purpose for the bureaucracy- they give an adequate method to number the herd.

standardized test mentality

2. They’re irrelevant.

Here’s a math question for the makers of the tests-

What percentage of your questions will help these students get ahead in the world?

Oh, never mind. I made it too easy, because the answer is 0.

How is sitting in a chair for 45 minutes reading about what formed Coney Island, or how chimpanzees behave in their native environments ever going to benefit a single one of these students?

I’ll give you one guess.

Take a guess

3. They’re too long.

I shouldn’t even complain about this one because at least my kids can complete their tests in one day. The kids in our school district spend weeks on their tests. Weeks.

Even so, how can a child be expected to sit for six hours taking a test? Today my daughter was literally in tears, tired and frustrated to the point that I told her more than once, Don’t even read it anymore. Just guess.

How in the world is that an accurate measure of learning, by anyone’s standards?

standardized tests

4. They’re boring.

As my daughter sat there in tears, complaining about how boring this was, I peeked over over her shoulder to see what the fuss was about.

Good Lord. I see now why these people write tests and not books, because no one would read them. Ever.

boring

5. They’re stressful.

You know how I said in #3 that I told my daughter just to guess? Well, it didn’t work because she wouldn’t do it. Being the perfectionist that she is, she insisted upon sitting there, reading the same passages over and over again in search of the correct answers when she was too tired to think straight. In between the tears were constant mumblings of I’m stupid and I can’t do this anymore.

This is one area where I’m going to admit that parents of public school students have an advantage; they don’t have to be witnesses to the breaking of their kids’ spirits as they endure hours upon hours and weeks upon weeks of something that no adult would ever volunteer themselves for.

breaking of the spirit

6. They kill the joy in learning.

My daughter is one of those kids who has always loved to read. At least once a day, you’ll find her reading aloud to her younger siblings, or sitting in the yard with her nose buried in a book.

Today she determinedly told me that, because of this test, she hates reading and never wants to read again. It’s an exaggeration, I know, but just imagine the kids who have to go through weeks of these tests- a couple times a year.

Is it any wonder that so many kids today refuse to read for pleasure?

standardized tests bad

 

7. They’re a waste of money.

Not only are these tests a waste of taxpayer money, but they’re an additional waste of our money. Since I refuse to make my kids spend weeks going to the school to take the tests for free, my husband and I have to pay for these tests for our children out of our own pockets.

Trust me, I am not a happy camper about forking over the dough for something I consider to be a cruel joke.

waste of money

 

8. They take precious time away from real learning.

All I could think of today was all the things we could’ve been learning about instead of doing what we were forced to be doing. And this test only lasted one day.

Imagine the time wasted in public schools. Not only do they spend weeks administering them, but a great portion of their time before and after testing time is spent on test prep. After school programs are dedicated to test prep. Activities that were once meant to be fun are now focused on one objective- getting kids ready for the tests.

I’m so thankful to homeschool my children. Instead of spending our year teaching to the test, we actually get to pursue things that really matter. Things that are really pertinent. Things that will actually equip them for the real world.

Is it any wonder our schools are the way they are? They’ve replaced a genuine education with a cheap knockoff.

generic education

 

Suffice it to say, standardized testing is one of the worst things to happen to our public school system. And as much as I’d like to say that I’m happy to have gotten this off of my chest, there’s only problem:

I’ll be going through this all over again next week with my son…

Stay tuned.

 

 

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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

26 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why I HATE Standardized Tests”

  1. I agree with you but the reason we have so many standardized tests is because of parents. Parents love them because they can use it as metric to rate things and feel good about “trying to do the best for their child”. Real Estate Agents love them because they can jack up housing in certain areas because of the scores of the tests.

    You say something important about genuine education and how it is a knock off and education in this country is piss poor. I am an educator and I will admit that education is not great. I am lucky that I don’t have to teach to a test and as long as I educating the students I am left alone.

    Here is something that people fail to realize and that is the government and the powers-to-be don’t want the public to be educated. The last people who were somewhat truly educated in this country were the early Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) and look what happened-Civil Rights Movement, Latino Movement, Native Americans Movement, Women’s Movement, Vietnam Protests and the Environmental Movement were all born in that time period and the people in charge saw that things were starting to change and couldn’t let it happen, so they dumbed down our schools and instead of truly trying to educate people, we started teaching to some test.

    The scary part is that they keep dumbing down our schools and people don’t care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, I write about the true intentions of the educational bureaucracy all the time. You are so right. I’ve got to say that, in my experience, other parents hated the tests, too. Although, I’m sure you’ve had to deal with a much larger number since you’re a teacher. Thanks for the great comment. Very thought-provoking!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Shelly, I would be ranting also if my kids had to take these pointless, stupid tests! Before we started homeschooling, we moved to Utah at the end of the school year. My kids had JUST taken the California state tests, but the local school said it didn’t COUNT since they weren’t Utah’s state tests! So my kids were forced to take those dumb tests a second time. They hated it. I told them not even to try. I think back when I was in school. I hated those tests, too!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. What’s sad is that parents and teachers need to ban together and fight to get rid of these tests (and other negative aspects of public schooling), but we both know chances are that will never happen because too many just accept how things are. 😟

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is about money and keeping your job. Most teachers try to fight the tests and the ringleaders become ex-teachers really fast. Some parents hate it but most want that metric to be able to brag to others about how highly rated their school is and how high the APR (academic progress rate) is. It is not about kids but competition among the parents. I have seen this played out many times.

          Plus, many parents are just to damn lazy to attend any school board meetings.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Oh I know that’s true. When my kids were still in school, there were a few teachers who completely disagreed with the shenanigans going on. They actually approached me in confidence, and asked me to be “the voice” because they couldn’t do it. What a sad situation.

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  3. Shelly,

    I have never been a groupie but I love your writing! Can you just come sit talk and have coffee? LOL! You have been much encouragement during a really bad school year. ( I have done this 15yrs) Just want to send encouragement back for all the great emails I get in my inbox from you!

    Blessings

    Juliet

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was an elementary and middle school student in the 90’s. I liked testing week because you had no homework, extra recess, if you finished early you could read, and my mom made a special breakfast the first day of testing. I worked in an elementary school 2008-2013 and testing had really changed. Instead of one week, testing was multiple weeks throughout the year. Because testing took up so much of the year the students still had homework. There is some extra recess but that’s up to the teacher. In my school after a certain time you could send the students who were not finished to the library. One teacher kept her whole class in their classroom on silence until 2:00 rather than sending the unfinished ones to the library. If you finish your test early the teachers have to tell their students to check their answers over and over. There is no reading or putting your head down on your desk allowed.
    Testing isn’t the main reason I’m homeschooling but it’s one of my main frustrations with the public school system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just saying something to my kids about this yesterday. When i was in school, I liked these days because it got us out of our regular school work, BUT my school wasn’t obsessed with scores and test prep. And, like you also said, they didn’t happen nearly as often. I honestly don’t ever remember us getting the scores to those tests, come to think of it.

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      1. My school was very obsessed with test scores. My mom worked at a different elementary school in our county as a bookkeeper and saw how stressed the teachers were. She encouraged us to give our teachers extra grace and try our bests on the tests.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When I taught special ed I used to have to read every single test aloud to every single kid on my caseload individually. It took about four straight week- seven hours a day. Such bullshit. Like Hello! We already know they have a learning disability!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally agree with you! The evaluator we have also administers the tests. She contacted me asking me if I wanted my 6th grader to take the test too, since my 5th grader had to anyway. She said it would be a good idea because it shows how the child is doing over the years by comparing the tests year after year. She said it gets the kids used to taking the tests. Since I had to take my 5th grader anyway, I figured I’d have the 6th grader tested as well. The our evaluator breaks the test into three days, and tried to make it fun at lunch time with the kids. I stayed the whole time while they took the tests to see what it was all about. The evaluator kept saying that these tests are designed so that the kids won’t know all the answers!!!!! It’s designed to see what they know and if they know above their grade level. I’m thinking to myself, if I was taking a test where I didn’t know the answers, I’d feel like a failure! I’d shut down and not even pay attention to the answers I did know. I’d be too worried about the answers I didn’t know! It seems like our evaluator likes these tests, but I’m thinking I don’t want to do them again until required! I do have a question though. If I child performs below grade level, can they be required to take them again the next year in homeschool?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of a child having to repeat a homeschool year due to test scores. Keep in mind that only your evaluator gets these scores- not the school district. My evaluator is very relaxed and probably feels the same way about these tests as I do, so I’m really thankful for that. (For the record, my kids usually perform above grade level, but the stress they feel during these tests far outweighs any good a high score will do.

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  7. I hated standardized testing when I was a classroom teacher. And I still hate them. Fortunately in our state homeschoolers don’t have to take them.

    The really bad thing when I had to give them in schools is how teachers, principles, and parents misinterpret them. I had a principal tell me that we were going to have to talk to the parents of a child and tell them the school wasn’t equipped to handle him- this was a small Christian school with no special ed- because he scored in the “low intelligence” range on the test. It didn’t matter what he actually did in class. The decision was going to be based solely on the test score.

    Another time I had a parent actually tell me that his second grader should probably be moved up because she scored in the 7th grade range for reading. She was a smart kid. But, of course, socially, she didn’t need to be a 7th grader!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always hate standardized tests for the very reasons you have mentioned. It’s meaningless to test homeschooled elementary-aged kids especially!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thankfully, in Mississippi, homeschooled kids don’t have to take standardized tests. I don’t really believe they teach kids anything. In the public schools here, the teachers have to spend a large portion of the school year “teaching the test”. It’s ridiculous. Of course, I don’t blame the teachers. If the kids don’t score well, the teacher’s could lose their jobs. I think there should be an overhaul when it comes to standardized testing. Either, don’t require it or stop using it to hold teachers hostage.

    Liked by 1 person

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