When I reflect on all the teachers I’ve had throughout my years of school and envision what kind of teacher I want to be, I always come back to the same theme: equity. I want to treat my students as fairly as possible while taking their individuality into consideration. When I imagine what role standardized testing might have—through a system I’ll have little control over as a teacher— I worry. Specifically, I worry about my students whose learning style does not fit the mold of standardized testing.
Standardized testing may be an effective way to evaluate a large scale of students, but should the goal be different? We use these numbers to evaluate teachers and schools, and to determine the future placement of our students. Attaching so much weight to these scores based on the same method of testing is advantageous to the more privileged people of our society. Teaching techniques that become centered around the designing of standardized tests take the creativity and personal engagement out of education. I don’t want to become a teacher who feels as though I have to “teach to the test.”
Unexpectedly, I’ve found myself less stressed in the “testing” part of my college courses than I did in high school. Unlike a lot of my high school classes, most professors try not to align the most weight with the testing category. Some professors also stray away from the typical design of testing, as they acknowledge the effectiveness of different methods suited to the nature of that subject. This level of flexibility enables students with varying degrees of learning styles to excel and learn in a way that’s meaningful to them.
It is my goal as a teacher to allow each of my students to have every possible opportunity to thrive. I believe this can be done by looking at my students holistically when evaluating their intellectual ability and potential. There are factors that contribute to a student's performance on a standardized test that cannot be seen through a score number. Rather than using one type of testing, multiple measures of evaluation create more opportunities to highlight a students strengths.
There are laws in place for students with disabilities that require access to accommodations for their test-taking circumstances. Instead of changing how a student is allowed to take their tests and modifying those conditions, we should be accommodating the method of testing to fit their needs as learners.
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