This recent article in Education Week describes the shortcomings of standardized testing. Recent trends show that even though we can expect a small improvement in state testing results as teachers become more familiar with teaching to the new Common Core related tests, student scores will soon plateau. Educators then begin spending inordinate efforts that result in only incremental improvements in successive years. Children just do not respond well to the constant test-prep school environment.
A few years ago, the decision was made to encourage almost all high school students to take college prep courses at the expense of vocational education. It did not work. Louisiana has the lowest number of students in the Southeast region completing 4 year college degrees. Then they maneuvered BESE into adopting the college prep Common Core standards. That's not working. Our students averaged 38% on the PARCC tests last year. Now the LDOE wants to push more testing and test prep to the K-3 grades. All that will do is to kill the joy of learning with boring high pressure test prep. None of this drill and kill strategy works. But the Accountability Commission is being told that if we just tighten the screws on students and teachers at the primary grades, then our students will finally become successful test takers. I'm not buying it.
I've pointed out before that White is a one-trick-pony who believes that everything in the education of children is about raising test scores, yet after years of college prep and excessive emphasis on testing, our students are doing no better in college.
Here is the problem with our younger students. Many children in high poverty homes have no books and few reading experiences in their homes. Many of these children are not stimulated to develop a rich vocabulary. Students from poverty start school with only half the vocabulary of more privileged students. Their primary teachers need to be able to spend time reading to their students from books for children that spark their interest in reading. Then the students will see themselves as readers and learners. To just start drilling kids with stacks of worksheets will turn them off to school and learning. Then no amount of testing and test prep will make them better students.