- School Meal Programs: How can we be more effective? - June 12, 2018
- Wolfgang Köhler and the Fight for the Psychological Institute - February 4, 2018
- Stories of a New Administrator - October 19, 2016
- Group Work and the Introverted Student - August 22, 2016
- To Test or not to Test: That is the Question - July 13, 2016
- Fostering an Independent Three-Year-Old - June 22, 2016
- A Letter to First Day Families - June 6, 2016
- The Benefits of an Individualized Approach - May 25, 2016
Picture this, lush green fields and ancient ruins of magnificent structures gazing over the tops of houses on the lanes. This is my view on the train from York to London. My family is from Yorkshire and I had the delight of spending time with them during my brief stop. However, I’m left contemplating a pressing topic- testing.
The issues of testing go beyond our boarders. What should our children be required to know in order to move to the next level? What becomes a greater issue is what is done with the information that is collected from the testing.
According to The National Curriculum, , children in the UK are assessed periodically in “English, maths and science.” These assessments begin around age 6 or 7 and occur again at age 11. What’s more, BBC News reports that children will learn some concepts at an earlier age. The changes bring with them lots of concern for the families of younger children in England. Children who do not pass the exam are give two chance to re-sit the exam. This year was the first year to use the new exam and the number of students that passed plummeted from 80% in 2015 to 53% in 2016.
Coming from a Montessori perspective where students are observed daily rather than tested, this brings concerns. The US has been working to rewrite its curriculum as well, introducing students to more complex topics at younger ages. I’ve even heard people refer to kindergarten as “the new first grade” due to material that is covered. But is this benefitting our students? So much of our education system rests on standardized testing and making sure we cover the test material. I remember having to take practice exams every few weeks to get ready for the end of year exam and to make sure I knew what I was doing. Students are learning how to be test takers and not necessarily retaining the content.