Board of Education’s standardized testing is unnecessary

Board of Education’s standardized testing is unnecessary

Elizabeth McMichael

The North Carolina Board of Education convened Feb. 5 to make a decision about the use of alternative testing for third grade tests, based on the Read to Achieve law passed last year.

During the meeting, it was recommended that the state continue to use standardized tests for another two years.

The Read to Achieve law requires third graders statewide to be able to read at grade level before being allowed to move on to fourth grade. If they cannot read at grade level by the end of their third-grade year, they can attend a summer reading camp, according to the News & Observer.

Many parents and teachers are arguing on behalf of using local, alternative tests rather than the statewide standardized tests. In order for the alternative tests to be used, they must be approved by the Board of Education.

But some members of the board expressed concerns that these local tests will not fit the requirements of the law as valid and reliable expressions of the child’s reading ability.

When standardized testing becomes a high-stakes form of achievement, it can cause teachers to become narrowly focused on what the test is on, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. This results in a test-preparation style of learning, rather than providing the students with the diverse education that they need in order to succeed.

The reason for the heavy focus on standardized tests is because we are primarily trained on the competition between schools, according to The Smithsonian Magazine.

This competition is then measured by the schools standardized test scores and then uses that to determine the value of certain schools and teachers.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.”

The same is said by asking students to participate in standardized testing to gauge their knowledge of a subject.

If we focus less on bumping up the standardized testing scores that determine teachers’ and schools’ values and focused more on the kind of testing that proves the children truly understand the information they learn, we will have more successful students and a higher quality education.

Elizabeth McMichael, a freshman chemistry major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.