One of the biggest problems in the American public education system is the lack of a common standard for what students should be learning, and when they should learn it. In other words, the inequality of curriculums across the nation is affecting the preparedness of students when they venture out beyond the public school system, for the worst. The way to fix this problem, according to many teachers, administrators, and politicians, is by implementing a common curriculum across the nation that will ensure that the quality of a student’s education is not determined by where they happen to live.
To many students standardized testing has become another part of schooling that is dreaded. Standardized testing has been a part of school since the nineteen-thirties; in those days it was used as a way to measure students that had special needs. Since the time that standardized test have been in American schools there has been many programs that have placed an importance on the idea of standardized testing such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Evans 1). Over the years the importance of standardized testing has increased tremendously and so has the stakes, not only for teachers but also students. All states in the United States of America have state test in order to measure how much students learn, and help tell how well the
Students dread the time of the year when they stop with their course material and begin to prepare for test. Everyone is in agreement that some type of revolution is needed when it comes to education; eliminating standardized test will aid the reform. The need for standardized testing has proven to be ineffective and outdated; some leading educationalist also believe this because the tests do not measure a student’s true potential. This will save money, stop labeling, and alleviate stress in students and teachers.
In theory, this is the same idea that Howard County has for their Social Studies curriculum, but unfortunately the continuity in subject matter mastered is not evident and I fear we could go down the same road with Common Core (CCSS). Therefore, curriculum should support continuity within a school system, but often that does not occur.
There are many approaches that can be taken in order to develop a school’s curriculum, or the material that the students will learn. If there were no federal regulation of curriculum, then it would not be possible to compare student achievement across districts or even states. The federal program, Common Core State Standards, assists in equaling education across the nation. The Common Core has reinvented the perception of student learning which, in turn, has caused American education to become a corporate institution. As a result, there has been a threat to states’ rights for education as more rigorous content has been implemented into classrooms by the government, which ultimately changes the role of the teacher.
The purposes of standardized tests are to instruct decision making, establish program eligibility, evaluate course goals, evaluate program goals, and examine external curriculum. When a teacher gives and assesses a standardized test, they gain information about their students that helps them realize what concepts they have learned according to the agenda for the subject at hand. If the assessment is performed in a sensible amount of time and given according to the directions, this purpose should be fulfilled; however, it is a common belief that standardized tests do not work well in establishing where a student stands in a specific curriculum. The test uses a general curriculum that is the basis for the tests
Another problem that inhabits the educational system is teachers who are unprepared to prepare students for the many standardized test that are given. An example would be that the average teacher in Finland must go through a grueling curriculum in order to become teachers (Schneider, and Christison 30-32). This shows that we lack in preparing our teachers to teach. This of course also leads to unpreparedness from students, to low test grades and a loss of interest. Teachers should become more flexible in the way they teach, allowing creativity and a way for the student to gain feedback from the teacher to want to learn more of the subject (Slon 47-49).
Changing the method of learning across a nation is an incredibly large undertaking and it must be thought out impeccably to work. The way the Common Core has been enforced in schools has had some issues, causing it to be unsuccessful. One problem with it is that it was not made to adapt to different students, for example some students that might have learning disabilities cannot learn the same ways as students without that disadvantage and the Common Core can’t be adapted for each individual student. In the article “Common Core: An International Failure,” the author says, “Instead of choosing a one-size-fits-all approach to education, education policy makers should turn to the people who actually know their pupils: parents, teachers, and local school districts” (Asbenson 1). Asbenson is saying that teachers must have some say in what and how they teach. The way the Common Core is now, they do not have the luxury of changing the curriculum if they find it necessary. The fact that the Common Core leaves no room to accommodate different students and the ways they learn, makes it difficult to see why it is a better choice than having curriculum differ across the country.
Another major issue and concern with the Common Core State Standards is the lack of creative freedom and control due to the enforcement of it curriculum. The current common core curriculum focuses so much on its blind faith in standardization of tests and curriculum that it promotes uniformity instead of customization. It doesn’t allow students to synthesize latent creativity, restricting their mindsets to a narrow path. With their performances directly tied to test scores, teachers are now held to a higher standard of academic performance. Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union has said the Common Core to be a “poison pill for learning” because it eliminates the sort of imaginative and critical thinking that teachers need to
This involves, teacher proofing, which minimizes a teacher’s amount of sovereignty. So, teachers have less say in what they will teach in their classroom, and is causing some controversy. Next, the article compares teachers that have a curriculum to those having no curriculum. Teachers that have a curriculum to follow should have the ability to make adjustments in lessons, while being given materials and new ideas. Having no curriculum to follow is more difficult to create, but has it’s advantages because the teacher has compete
There are many articles on how standardized tests do not accurately measure the quality of a student’s education. The majority of them summarize the pressure put of teachers to teach standardized tests, rather than to teach material that would correlate with and help students to understand the material on standardized tests.
Currently, instructors are pressured by state education department to adjust school curricula to meet the expectations of the standardized test. Educators alter the curriculum to “match the [standardized] test” (“How Standardized”). Therefore, instructors are limited and classroom instruction is focused around test preparation for the annual standardized test. Teachers are forced to abandon their creative lessons and “teach the test,” or concentrating only on the material that will be evaluated (“How Standardized”). This frequently involves taking multiple choice tests that are formatted identically to the standardized test and only memorizing facts, formulas, and items included only on the standardized tests (“How Standardized”). Even though test scores may improve, students are not learning how to think critically and perform better in other subjects that are not on the test (“How Standardized”). Instructional time is limited in the other subject areas such as science, social studies, music, and art. Instructors feel “handicapped” and plead to state officials abandon these standardized tests for the sake of the “quality of the instruction in American schools” (Zimmerman 206). School curricula are being modified only to prepare students for a single test, not for education the students need in the future.
To begin with standardized testing creates several critical problems for students and for the education industry. These tests are created to test over particular things. In the end these types of tests are only limited in the amount of knowledge that can be tested toward students. For example, “Standardized exams offer few opportunities to display the attributes of high-order thinking, such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creativity.” (“Standardized Testing Has Serious Limitations”). Even though these tests are able to attack certain subjects at the core, they still leave out very valuable and critical information that all students should know. In
Current reforms and initiatives based on the national education standards focus on student’s achievement and teacher’s preparation. Educational researchers and curriculum designers continuously find problems with standards and requirements on a state level and how the state and local boards of education focus highly on advanced placement and cultural literacy. A key focus is also accountability for students, schools, and school-districts in regards to academic performance. A new factor that has surfaced is school choice (charter schools and home schooling) and character development. Progressive teachers are able to guide learners to new experiences in every lesson. However; they are sensitive to unique and different learning styles which