Saturday, September 3, 2011

More on opting out of testing

Even in the face of the costs of standardized testing, some believe that testing can play a part of an education system.

I hear this a lot.

The problem with such a statement is that it at best down-plays the dominant role standardized testing plays in our current accountability culture and at worst sells a lie that confuses moderation and compromise with capitulation.

Some progressive educators have been screaming about the injustices of standardized testing for a very long time. And some of them are getting frustrated.

Shawn Johnson from Towson University puts it this way:
Educators are frustrated by the exclusion of teachers from the larger debate on education reform and policy in the United States. Individual classroom teachers and researchers have been highlighting for years the deleterious effects of focusing solely on success or failure with regard to standardized tests. And even now, with the revelation that high-stakes environments are perfect breeding grounds for desperation and resulting dishonesty, the dispiriting march through another year of test preparation must continue. 
In a political and cultural environment that at best feigns listening to educators and at worst demonizes them, the most active public school advocates — like Mr. Slekar — are beginning to feel that opting their children out of completing the state tests is the only message that will get through. Those who began their research into the issue are finding it remarkably easy to do, despite the dissembling of school officials when asked for information.
In Canada, I've written about opting out of testing here, and others have written here and here.

In the United States, the Innovative Educator is calling for a national movement for opting out of testing.

Alfie Kohn offers these practical strategies to save our schools from testing.

Most politician and policy maker have neither the know-how or courage to stand against standardized testing. I have little faith they will do anything different until the prevailing winds no longer blow in favor of these tests. Where the body goes, the shadow follows -- most politicians are shadows.

I believe with educators' know-how and the public's courage, together we can refuse our cooperation and no longer allow our children's education to be reduced to data for someone else's spreadsheet.

My children will never write a Provincial Achievement Test, and I will continue to publicly advocate like I am here. That's what I'm doing.

What are you doing?


  1. My name is Lindsey Gipson and I am student at the University of South Alabama. I have been assigned to comment and summarize two of your blog posts. The summaries will be posted on my blog 09/10/11, here is a link to our class blog and my personal blog

    I couldn't agree more about standardized testing. These tests are ruining the education system. Teachers have to spend so much time preparing students for the tests that they can't really teach anymore. I think it would be awesome if everyone would come together and refuse cooperation. What a great notion!

  2. You should check out our national movement for opting out - we also have a global outreach - join us!
    Peggy Robertson
    our FB group page (


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