Alright, so I saw this article on TIME, and I could not help but write a reply to Ms. Julie Cross. As you well know, I am an opponent of the standardized test simply because it does not measure the intelligence or knowledge of the student (Standardization Undermines Our Abilities). I am not one to stir up controversy over any he-said-she-said with any writers, but this article struck a nerve deep down in my core for the simple fact that the only time that she mentioned the students was when the issue of teacher ratings came up. I hope you read this, Julie because I want you to see the other side.
Nevermind that the students being taught in the English as a Second Language class are already struggling to get an education in an English-dominated country and that, on top of their every day struggles (as she mentions), they have to worry about some test that determines their “worth” in the education system. Not quite sure if “worth” should be in quotations, because as I had mentioned before, the only reason standardization exists is to create a larger budget for schools to get more out-of-date books to teach to more frustrated students paying for a shit education.
“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.”
This quotation in itself shows the large database system being created by governments and education systems to turn every one of us into a number in the system: data for cash. If you make a mistake on one of these tests, you don’t make the cut. I’ve talked to would-be students who will not go back to school simply because they are afraid of their ability to “pass” the College Placement Tests. This demographic sample were of veterans leaving the military in search for their new path in life. You take an individual, put them under the high stress of the military for 4 years, then shit them out and they have two choices: job market or education. Highly skilled and disciplined individuals have a hard time with these tests because they feel as though they insult their intelligence — and they do.
Learn how to answer questions when asked! Do not ask them! This seems to be the general consensus of those who are in favor of this standardization. Others don’t even consider the success of retention of this knowledge after the test. In the Marine Corps, we call this a “brain dump.” You stress and stress and stress about a test (whether a field test or a paper military test), and fill your brain up with all the information it needs to PASS the test. Then, once it’s all over, you take a brain dump and forget about all the information you learned because it pissed you off so much that you had to memorize this information in order to pass the fucking test. Intake information load -> TEST -> results -> brain dump. That’s how it goes. Maybe THIS is the reason why the teacher cited in Cross’ article had higher test results at the end of the semester, and then lower test results at the beginning of the semester again.
It seemed that throughout the article, the author had this bias FROM grading these tests: probably got some promotion (more $$$) to test processor and then justified the legitimacy of the tests through some backwards logic that had to do with teacher performance over student retention. Sorry teachers, but standardized tests don’t teach students shit. Perhaps these test processors should go back and take some of the tests they’re issuing and see how it turns out for them.