Someone is always testing or being tested nowadays. It seems like a universal truth in the world of education, that somewhere, someone is being tested for something. SBAC, CMT, NWEA, ETS, SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, the acronyms go on and on. Working in education is an eternal commitment to testing others, to a certain degree. Months are known by the tests that are taken during them: April is SBAC month, October is PSAT month, for example. The decision to test students constantly was made fairly recently, and the testing industry feeds off of necessity, so there’s no end in sight unless those making the tests decide they are no longer accomplishing their intended purpose. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Alex and I were talking recently about how frequently students are tested nowadays, how they are forced into months upon months of standardized assessments that they are told will determine their future to some degree. The pressure is always, always on. I talked to one of my coworkers recently who said that they were amazed by the fact that Kindergartners are being tested and have to know how to use computers in order to be tested. Essentially, young kids are forced onto these devices by virtue of the fact that they will be tested on them, and so they must be somewhat familiar with how to use the technology. Again, the necessity of taking a test, determined by higher-ups and not the students themselves, demands that they know how to use devices I wasn’t even allowed to touch until I was 8.
But that’s just what testing is like in the realm of education. Nothing else needs to be said. I don’t hate the fact that students are being tested, but I do see a potential conflict in the necessity of testing and those who are being tested. I think it’s right for us to at least examine the effects themselves before determining whether a test is necessary or not.