What Testing Does to Kids

As parents and educators, we should not be surprised by the recent article from the Washington Post excerpted below.  We’ve seen the damaging effects that testing has had on our children, from lower self-esteem to increased anxiety.  The Post reported the following figures collected from 8,000 parents in a NY state poll:

According to the Post article:

* 75% reported their child was more anxious in the month before the test

* Nearly 80% reported that test prep prevented their child from engaging in meaningful school activities.

* 87% reported that the current amount of time devoted to standardized testing is not a good use of their child’s school time.

* 95% were opposed to increasing the number and length of tests

* 91% were opposed to standardized tests for K-2

* 65% reported that too much time is devoted to test prep

In addition to responses to questions, nearly 4,000 of the respondents left comments and short anecdotes.

Parents reported that their children displayed physical symptoms caused by test anxiety, including tics, asthma attacks, digestive problems and vomiting. Parents also wrote anecdotes that reported:

* Sleep disruption, crying

* Refusal to go to school

* Feelings of failure, increasing as the tests progressed

* Complaints of boredom and restlessness from students who finished early and were required to sit still for the full 90 minutes of each test.

Teachers echoed many of the same concerns.

* 65% of over 6000 responding teachers said that their students did not have enough time for independent reading, project-based learning and critical thinking

* 89% of teachers reported that their students became more anxious in the month prior to testing and during testing itself

* 88% said that test prep had impacted the time spent on non-tested subjects such as science and art

* Fewer than 3% believed that their students’ learning had increased because of testing.

When is enough, enough?

The new mandated testing schedule has many proponents, but isn’t it time we asked ourselves whether the increased testing is doing more harm than good?  See the full Washington Post article here.


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