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Teacher: Standardized Testing 'Isn't That Bad'

Teacher: Standardized Testing Isn't That Bad

Throughout the year, standardized testing has been a hot topic of discussion in classrooms across the nation. Some schools have even canceled midterms and finals in order for their students to do well on these tests. While many teachers keep mum about their opinions on the utility of standardized tests, at least one teacher has spoken out saying that the tests many groan about are not all bad.

Julia Cross wrote an article recently on XoJane.com where she boldly states that "standardized testing is not the devil." Cross said that standardized testing "isn't all that bad. In fact, if used correctly, it can do some great stuff."

Cross, who teaches ESL in the Los Angeles Unified School District, said her students "take two or three tests during a semester, and if their scores improve, we get money from the state."

"At first, like many teachers, I hated these tests," she said. "Then, I got a job as my school's testing advisor. For nine years, I assisted teachers with the testing, trained them to do it more effectively, scanned all the test results into a giant database, collected a bunch of demographic information, and then sent off the final report to the school district's main office. From there, it went on to some shadowy place in the government, and somehow this all resulted in a check for some books we might buy."

Cross said what bothered her was "that all that work never truly resulted in helping struggling teachers or improving our programs."We made some cursory attempts at improvement, but the focus was on the money we earned from performance, not the evaluative process itself," she said. "We improved in order to get more funding. We didn’t truly examine core issues."

"But I know from sifting through data that the tests show us useful information, if only we would use it -- and of course, if we are honestly taking the tests and not gaming the system," she said. "I don’t have a problem with the tests being financially compensated, but when you make educators desperate to earn money because regular funds are so scarce, that’s bound to incentivize dishonesty. If we had better working conditions to start with, we might have time to read the story of what we do in test measurements, without the pressure of counting on the results for our survival."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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