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Friday, November 2, 2012

Gallup at White House Education Event: Standardized Testing is Holding Us Back

“Putting 100% of our eggs in the basket of standardized testing is absolutely the wrong approach to education,” posits Executive Director of Gallup Education Brandon Busteed. Busteed delivered this hard-hitting message to a room full of top education leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at the first ever "Education Datapalooza," hosted last month by the White House and Department of Education.

In education, “our biggest problem is actually our focus on the problem,” said Busteed. Education leaders are mainly focused on what is wrong with schools, how ineffective our teachers are, and what our students don't know. It is time to change this, according to Busteed, and focus instead on cultivating students’ strengths -- not fixing their weaknesses.

“People who become successful didn't get that way by focusing on improving weaknesses. They found out what they were good at --their innate talents-- and they turned those talents into strengths by putting them to work every single day," Busteed explained.

Busteed argued that education leaders should drastically reduce the U.S. educational system’s current focus on standardized testing. Schools and teachers should instead spend the majority of their time delivering “individualized and personalized” education by building students' educational experiences around their innate talents.

For more information on how Gallup gives education leaders tools and advice to help teachers, students, and schools succeed, visit the Gallup Education Knowledge Center.


A W said...
November 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM  

Oh brother, touchy-feely nonsense. Standardized tests are just a tool. Teachers don't like them because they expose when they haven't been doing their jobs. Without standardized tests students in low performing schools are just more in the dark until the real world smacks them in the face and they are really struggling because of the poor quality of their education.

Parents need to demand more information, not less. Hold teachers accountable for doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...
November 3, 2012 at 5:25 PM  

Skills which are lucrative tend to be so because they're hard. Most people who are good at them had to overcome their weaknesses early on. Even if you have a talent for basket weaving, it does not mean that you should abandon your studies in science and math and pursue a career in basket weaving. You might be happier as a basket weaver... but more likely you'd realise that you'd prefer to have had worked hard to improve something you weren't good at, in an area of high demand, rather than to live from hand to mouth.

Anonymous said...
November 4, 2012 at 6:05 PM  

If parents could pick their schools--and thereby hold the school accountable for performance--I would agree entirely. That's why, for example, Montessori schools are very desirable across the U.S.

However, applying this idea to the public school system, where most parents are assigned a school, is a recipe for continued mediocrity and worse.

Anonymous said...
November 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM  

As someone who has had to deal with the results of our education system during 23 years in the US Navy and currently working in the education system, the product of our education system continues to fail our students. Standardized testing has not improved the situation. Teachers, instead of teaching concepts that lead students to mastery of those concepts are resorting to or being directed to "teach to the test."

Additionally, schools and teachers are being held accountable for lack of PERCEIVED student progress when the reality is otherwise. Two examples, while teaching 6th grade English I would constantly get students coming out of elementary school with very low reading skills. On average my students would test out at 3.4 (third grade 4th month). I had students testing out at kindergarten level. How did these student get to 6th grade? These students were not held back so their previous school would not have a record of low promotion rates.

The same thing is happen now in a virtual online high school where I teach. We deal with at-risk students who come to us well below their actual grade level. We have 9th graders whose math skill are as low as 4th grade. Even when we manage, in the course of one year, to raise these students math skill to 6th, 7th, or even 8th grade, they invariably are not ready to pass standardized testing. Thus by state standards we have failed this student and take a hit on our Adequate Yearly Progress.

Testing is important but equally important is to assess student progress based on where they start the school year and end the school year. It is much less costly to a county, state, or the nation to have a student spend an extra year or two earning their high school diploma rather than becoming a ward of the state.

Anonymous said...
November 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM  

They Should ELIMNATE OR DOWWGRADEED standardized testing.

The only exception is in medical, first responder emergency, and certain engineering fields. Doctors and critical healthcare workers should be tested since those are life and death fields.

For other types of studies in life, it should be eliminated or downplayed. Instead, grades should be assessed. If you did well in your subjects, you deserve to go to school.

If testing is going to be the prime tool, then students must be taught EXACTLY on what the test will cover. Education should be geared towards the test.

There should also be a greater movement towards SCHOOL CHOICE.

Also, ELIMINATE the Department of Educationa and let states and local towns set the education policy.

Anonymous said...
November 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM  

This is very interesting as we recently finished discussing this topic. As an educator I have always felt standardized testing was not the answer. Teachers no longer focus on teaching students skills and preparing them for life, but instead prepare them to take a test that has nothing to do with life. Busteed is absolutely correct when he states that as educators we should focus more heavily on the student's strengths and not their weaknesses. No research has shown by highlighting a child's weakness in mathematics they suddenly became a mathematician. However, if they are strong in reading and writing you may have the next Noble Laureate in your class.

Jullie Smith said...
December 6, 2012 at 3:53 AM  

The most important things is right in your article is
(Schools and teachers should instead spend the majority of their time delivering “individualized and personalized” education by building students' educational experiences around their innate talents.)
Thanks for iformation.

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