Thursday, March 26, 2015

M-Step Standardized Test Is Step In Wrong Direction

I've never been a fan of standardized testing in schools. I didn't like it as a student, a teacher or as a parent. Recently, the MEAP test has been replaced by another standardized test called M-STEP. Schools will be implementing M-STEP this spring. There is a growing number of parents in Michigan who are opposed to students taking the M-STEP test and I'm one of those parents. I love what Michigan teacher of the year Melody Arabo had to say recently to Mlive. "Some students don't do well on standardized tests because they don't have standardized minds".

Standardized tests like MEAP and M-STEP stress the hell out of kids. I know this because they stress out my cheerful and enthusiastic ten year old son. I also hear from other parents that their kids get stressed out by these kinds of standardized tests.

In my opinion all kids and adults for that matter learn differently and in their own unique way. As Stuart Smalley said on SNL, "And that's okay." Some do well on standardized tests and some like myself do not. But that's beside the point.

The point is why this obsession on the part of the Republican Michigan Legislature with standardized testing? It comes down to the national mandate of No Child Left Behind. The act requires that 95% of students in school be assessed through some form of standardized testing. If states don't meet this requirement schools in the state will lose funding for the next year. Wow. What a punitive educational system we have in this country. But that is for another article. No wonder everyone from kids to parents to teachers are so stressed out in this country. Everywhere you look there are scare tactics and looming punishments coming down from above, particularity for under appreciated teachers.

There is too much stress on kids. Look. I'm just glad I was a kid back in the late sixties and seventies. Standardized testing only leads to more stress for kids who are already stressed out half of the time. At the ripe old age of 51, I have young kids who are in elementary school. When I compare my children's lives to the the life I led as a kid, holy mackerel! There is no comparison. Today kids' lives are filled with pre-planned, organized activities all week long. And then there are play dates. Ugh! I can't stand the term! My gosh, even hanging out with their friends is pre-planned and mico-managed by adults. Bring into the mix standardized testing and you have one big recipe for miserable, over scheduled and stressed out kids. Let's abolish standardized testing for students. Too much pressure. I'm glad I'm not a kid today.

Jeff Brown



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