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Most can agree that there is something wrong with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The idea is that children won’t get further and further behind their classmates. The hope is that their abilities would be raised to others their age, but what is happening instead is that the standard is lowered to the least common denominator instead. Schools are required to be to a certain level by 2014, but it’s just not going to happen. There are few schools in this country that meet the criteria set by NCLB.
The question is, should standardized testing be the way to evaluate children? Every child learns differently — visual, kinesthetic, auditory — and yet they’re all being tested the same way. For those who need a hands-on approach, reading a question and filling in a bubble is not the best to evaluate whether that student understands the concept.
And that doesn’t even take into account those students with disabilities. These could be slight frustrations, such as dyslexia or ADD, or they could be serious disabilities such as cerebral palsy (and these students are required to take the tests just as much as mainstream students).
If we’re going to require testing for students in order to set a baseline of where the schools are at, then the testing needs to reflect the differences in the children. In the classroom, teachers don’t just use tests. As they’re teaching lessons, they’re walking around and evaluating students as they work on assignments. There needs to be a reflection of this in standardized testing as well.