My Beef With Standardized Testing

This week my kids are doing standardized tests.

stand·ard·ize

1. to bring to or make of an established standard size, weight, quality, strength, or the like: to standardize manufactured parts.

2. to compare with or test by a standard.

3. to choose or establish a standard for.

Exam
Creative Commons License photo credit: albertogp123

I’m not administering these tests because I believe they’re valuable, but because I have to in order to comply with the law.

I have a problem with standardized testing, and the whole thing is making me irritable. I resent this intrusion of the state into my family life and parenting.

Since I don’t have to actually show the tests to any authorities, and if they showed up at my door and requested them I would flatly let them know that fact, it’s especially annoying that I have to stop TEACHING in order to test them.

I dislike standardized tests for several reasons. One, a standardized test proves that a child a) is good at testing (and doesn’t tell you how intelligent they are or how well they learn) and  b) has been taught what’s on the test.

“3. to choose or establish a standard for.”

Who should best decide what “standards” I set for my kid’s education?

“…And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:6,7

(This is the primary reason I homeschool, so that I can do this teaching all day long.)

Since the state doesn’t give birth to my children, feed them in the night, clothe them, hold them when they’re sick, read stories for hours each day, worry when they begin toddling around, and teach them right from wrong, I don’t think they should get to decide what my kids learn and what assessments I use to gauge their learning. They have requirements for my homeschool, but don’t provide any assistance whatsoever. I buy my own school supplies, books, textbooks. I pay for field trips. I pay school taxes to support a system I don’t believe in.

The kids are doing well on these tests, incidentally. But it’s interesting to me that my 10 year old daughter, who is a wonderful student and reading constantly, is showing signs of test anxiety. I assured her that noone is going to see this test but me. I explained to her my feelings about testing so she understood where I stand, but she’s still stressed about it and did quite poorly on the  practice test.

“1. to bring to or make of an established standard size, weight, quality, strength, or the like: to standardize manufactured parts.”

Kids (like all people) don’t come standardized and I don’t believe their education should be either. There is no body of knowledge that every 10 year old or 14 year old “should” learn.

As I explained to my children, what if there was a test for all 40 year olds and the government demanded that 39 year old adults take it so we can “pass”? How would I do on the test? How would your dad do? What would be on the test? (And who gets to decide that?) Are we both intelligent? Do we know the same things? And does it matter?

How do you feel about standardized testing in your homeschool? Is there a requirement to do testing in your state?

 

About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.

Comments

  1. Amen! I agree! I have to test two of my children this year and I’m already stressing over it. The last time I administered (for my oldest) it took us an entire week to finish and we were both exhausted! Plus I missed out on anything productive with the other children. I live in GA too and I’m grateful I don’t have to hand over the results, but you’re right, we purchase all our own supplies, dutifully pay our taxes to support the state schools and also pay the tab for the standardized tests. It’s a bit much and a lot encroaching! Don’t get me started on the “standards” or the “core curriculum”…egads!

  2. I agree with all those points :)

  3. I am helping my daughter homeschool her two boys, age 8 and 12. This is our first year, so far, so good. My only concern is in regard to the standardized test. According to GA law they both must be tested every three years. But they attended kindergarten so, if I have read the law correctly, that means that the youngest would not have to be tested until the end of the fifth grade and the older would not be tested again until the eighth? Am I confused?

    Also, what test do you recommend?

    Thank you, I do appreciate all the blogs and encouragement. We knew it was the right thing to do and are committed to doing it.

  4. Meema, I didn’t see your comment until today, several months later. It was trapped in spam. So sorry! I emailed you…