Target: U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan
Goal: Convince the U.S. Department of Education to ban standardized testing by the 2013-2014 school year
One out of four students drop out before completing high school. Seventy percent of eighth graders can’t read proficiently. American TV shows and movies portray school as a bore that can only be tolerated if students ridicule their teachers and other classmates. Education should be an enriching experience where students realize the skills and talents they each possess. Instead, it has become a mechanized process of teaching students how to narrow down choices on a test in order to pick the best one. If a student can do that, he or she is “intelligent,” while students who can’t are “delayed” and need remedial help. The American public education system needs a complete overhaul, starting with standardized testing.
The factsheet for Fairtest.org states that the U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests. Other nations use performance-based assessments where students are evaluated based on real work such as essays, projects and activities. These students, ironically, score higher than U.S. students on multiple-choice tests.
Evidence abounds proving that standardized testing is an ineffective form of measuring intelligence. The fact that the Department of Education has not required an alternative, like portfolio based assessments, is neglectful and irresponsible. How many more students need to be told they are “slow” or “below average” only to grow up to be scientists? Or worse, how many gifted students who can’t conform to testing standards will struggle through their remaining school years feeling inadequate, losing hope and possibly dropping out?
Tell Arne Duncan to end this archaic form of assessment and improve education by using performance based tests to measure student achievement.
Dear Arne Duncan,
No two people are alike. So why treat students like they are by expecting them to learn and process information in the same way? It has long been known that standardized tests are an outdated and inaccurate form of measuring student progress. The fact that the U.S. Department of Education has not mandated an alternative form of assessment is negligent and dangerous to the future of our students.
The United States is the only economically-advanced country that still uses multiple-choice tests as a primary form of assessment. Other countries use performance-based evaluations, like portfolios, to assess student progress. These students ironically outperform American students even in multiple choice tests.
How many more students need to drop out due to feelings of inferiority or just plain boredom before the Department of Education starts taking responsibility for why students are failing in school? It is time for the U.S. Department of Education to mandate a new form of evaluation. We urge you to end standardized testing nationwide by the 2013-2014 school year.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: aea9.k12.ia.us