Standardized Testing

In February 2013 Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education proposed adopting standardized tests for every student, every year.

Dr. Marc Spooner from the University of Regina talks with Alfie Kohn about Saskatchewan’s proposed standardized testing:

Some reasons against standardized testing:

A) Standardized testing diverts teaching time and monetary resources away from student supports, teachable moments, and direct teacher-student contact time (i.e., Kohn, 2000, 2011; Sahlberg, 2011);

B) They are one-time snapshots that do not accurately measure how a student performs day after day, or what a student actually knows (i.e., Harris, Smith, & Harris, 2011);

C) They are culturally biased, and biased against those for whom reading and/or English is a challenge (i.e., Sawa, 2010);

D) They are more reflective of depressed socio-economic neighbourhood conditions than student learning or quality of teaching (i.e., VASS News, 2012);

E) they often induce unhealthy anxiety in students (i.e., Gail, Jones, Jones, & Hargrove, 2003; Segool, 2009);

F) The results of standardized tests, when published in newspapers carry negative side effects, including a significant drop in student and teacher morale (Paris & Urdan, 2000);

G) Teachers teach to the test (i.e., Volante, 2004) rather than teaching students to think through complex social problems, such as dealing with climate change and a fragile global economy; and

H) They run counter to Saskatchewan’s stated goal of improving retention and graduation rates of Aboriginal students, since these tests often serve to further marginalize and push out students for whom the system disadvantages (i.e., Crandall & Kutz, 2011).

Quotes taken from the “About” information section for this YouTube video.




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