The American education is based upon testing and scoring systems. It encompasses more than just what you learn and how much, it also explores how you rank among other students with the same information. This can be quite discouraging for children. Especially, when learning in and of itself, is not what’s being celebrated. This can be difficult for children to understand because it doesn’t make sense entirely. Plus, it’s not necessarily a real-life approach to learning.
Why isn’t Learning Good Enough
It should be enough for a child to learn a concept and demonstrate a full understanding of it. However, tests and ranking systems don’t depict this kind of system. Children are tested to gauge how well they fair against other children. This pushes competitiveness and classism in many ways. If Johnny made a higher grade than Timmy, he may be put with a group of children who also made higher grades. Even though Timmy learned the material and understood it, he still may not have made as high of a grade. Unfortunately, he’s penalized for this. He learned the material but failed to outrank other students.
The Consequences of Testing
We must ask ourselves what benefit testing really serves for educators and students alike. It does cultivate an atmosphere of competitiveness that can lead to hostility and low self-esteem. Surprisingly, despite the prevalence of testing, American students aren’t the smartest in comparison to children in other countries. We must question whether or not all the testing and the ranking are doing anything beneficial for our children and in general. Although most children may pass these standardized tests and go on to graduate, many will never be employed with a medical facility like South Florida orthopedics. This is mainly because we are producing fewer students that go into specialized fields.
Teaching for the Test
Children realize that they are learning concepts just to pass and rank on a standardized test. Most don’t feel encouraged by this style of learning and get bored easily. Learning for the sake of exploration has become absent from many classrooms, creating a generation of bored under educated children that will enter the workforce unprepared.
It may be time to embrace a new direction in education. Pushing children to learn just to pass a test is meaningless to them. In fact, it may be a meaningless practice altogether. Perhaps we can reawaken the spirit of education if we take away all the testing and explore learning for the sake of exploration and discovery.