Standardized Tests & Cabezones

I can feel the sweaty rage across the cafeteria, where I'm drinking coffee. He hasn't seen me—too busy yelling. His game face is on, and his team is losing. Coach's battle voice pollutes the air. His words slap, bruise and punch in ways you can't see, but will keep me up all night.

"You faaaaaiiiiiled!" He keeps saying it.

The former coach is blaming the students for their poor grades. Some are stupified with shame, smiling, pretending this is cool. They are too old to melt into nothingness and too young to give him the finger.

This is just a snippet from a brilliant article in the Texas Observer on The Testing Machine: or Texas's TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) the standardized test a school is preparing for. The author is Bárbara Renaud González sent from the local university to observe a local public middle school in its effort to prepare for standardized testing that will determine whether it falls into the "low performing" category, lose funding, and possibly lose jobs of teachers and administrators as a result. There are no heroes in this story.
I started to post quotes but you'll just have to go read it, it's that good and I'd end up linking the whole darn article. No seriously why are you still here, click the link, go read the article!

1 comment:

  1. Standardized tests are killing public education. My class was on the front edge of the testing wave, so while my sister a grade above me didn't take tests except in 3rd, 8th and 10th grades, I took them from 3rd through 10th. We had some of the same teachers, and because of the burdens of standardized testing, those teachers had been forced to cut certain topics and projects from their curriculum, to fit in the state-mandated test preparation period. My sister essentially had another 2 weeks of education a year, from some rather amazing teachers.

    My teachers were honest with us about how much they resented the loss of that time, but school funding was tied to test scores. With standardized tests, students, teachers and schools are reduced to a set of numbers. Numbers with incredibly large variance and error, at that.

    The worst part was that schools lost money if they stopped improving, regards of achievement level. What does that tell schools that are doing well? Don't do too well, or you'll lose money when you can't top that?

    ... I might be a bit bitter about the subject...