State College community members met at a forum to discuss a hot topic – the role standardized testing plays in schools.
For the most part, the people who attended the event shared their frustrations with testing.
“A large reason I retired early was because the standardized testing had become such a mess,” says Christine Thorn, a retired teacher who worked in a Texas school district for 27 years. “It took all the creativity out of the process and left you with a curriculum that a trained chimpanzee could teach.”
Standardized testing became a national topic in 2002 after President George W. Bush signed the “No Child Left Behind” education bill. The bill’s goal is to make sure every child, at every school across the county, is on the same level. Now, standardized tests are being used to grade, not only the students, but the teachers and districts too.
“Assessment is not a bad thing,” says Karen Foard, a teacher. “It’s not bad. It’s just something we have to make sure we’re using for the right purposes. Fro me, as a teacher, as an educator, it’s to guide instruction to help children improve.”
Forum attendees say hearing different sides of the argument helped.“When you share those perspectives, you get the chance to think about how your perspective gels with the other players [students, educators, school district administrators] in the system,” continues Foard, “That’s what this provided. It gave us an opportunity to hear what other people had to say.”