Be honest. How many of you have taken one of those daunting standardized “fill-in-the-bubble with a #2 pencil” tests recently? No? Then maybe you took one in the past year? Five years? Ten Years? Perhaps you filled one out when you enrolled in that gym class, or maybe when you last brought your dog to the vet? Do you even remember the last time you actually took a standardized test let alone held a #2 pencil?
It is most likely that you answered no to every one of the above questions, and it could very well be the last time you took a standardized test was in grade school, high school, or for college admissions testing. But that’s the point. Today there’s a growing argument among educational professionals, teachers, parents, and students about the value and validity of standardized testing in schools and how the tests prepare America’s students, if at all, for the challenges of the collegiate world, professional careers, and young adulthood. While one can Google a vast array of debates on the subject of comparing and contrasting standardized testing vs. closing the system all-together via articles, blogs, and white papers, there are growing numbers of schools and school systems that are skipping the debates and proceeding to take learning to a new level on their own
Self-Proclaimed Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen, explains how parents desire school systems which, “help learners identify their passions and interests and help them engage in real-world, authentic activities to develop them while also providing a framework for measuring success. Completion of an activity [or lesson or test] doesn’t simply result in a letter grade. Instead it becomes part of an authentic online portfolio that can be used to attain academic or career goals. Rather than demanding schools produce good test takers, parents and their children should support schools in moving from being memorization and regurgitation machines and moving toward customizing learning in meaningful ways that produces personalized results that are valuable to individual learners.”