One 5th grader’s view on standardized testing
Valerie Strauss (The Answer Sheet) featured a very insightful essay in last Friday’s post. Julia Skinner-Grant, a fifth grader at Chevy Chase Elementary in Montgomery County, wrote an essay giving her take on one of the most highly-debated topics in education reform today: Standardized testing.
Julia, a special education student in the highly gifted center, takes a persuasive stance that high-stakes testing leads to stress, not high test scores. Her argument is so insightful, it is nearly impossible to believe she is just 11. And Strauss is right— she is far more persuasive than a lot of adults on the subject.
Here’s a sneak peek– Read the full essay here.
By Julia Skinner-Grant
A good education is the key that opens the door to success in life. When children learn early on and discover their passions then their world, our world, just keeps getting better. Yet, how will we get better if all we teach our students is what has already been discovered? How will our future get better if we educate kids about how to remember random facts? How will No Child Left Behind help America’s future?
In 2002 President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act. The purpose of this law was to narrow achievement gaps between students, since many lower income students were not performing well on standardized tests and didn’t have basic reading or writing skills. So No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) is a system where testing is emphasized throughout the public school system in the United States. Now the nation’s teachers are given so much focus on testing requirements that classrooms hardly manage time for intellectual discussions, where students actually learn how to become lawyers, doctors and scientists. Why schools focused on the test is because NCLB will fire teachers if students don’t attain a certain score on the test. Principals are judged by how the students do on tests that test their ability to memorize random facts. If their students do well their school and they get more money; if their students do poorly they get fired.
Read Julia’s full essay here.