education reform, students, testing

So I Asked My Students Their Thoughts on Standardized Testing

I seem to keep opening Pandora’s infamous box when it comes to the thoughts of my students.  Spurred on by discussion in my every day about the ever increasing role standardized testing plays in our lives, I finally had the aha moment of asking my students how they felt about it.  Armed with an article from Time For Kids that discusses the new wave of computerized testing, I asked my students how they felt.  First they discussed and then they blogged, and boy, am I glad I asked. 

We think we know how testing effects kids, and we do know part of it, but some of their answers surprised even me.  Many of my students don’t get what it is they are being tested for.  Many of my students, who otherwise love technology, hate being tested on the computer.  They hate the strain on their eyes.  They hate feeling that everyone can see their screen.  They hate knowing that others have finished while they lumber on.  They hate not being able to go back and check their answers.  They kept asking me what will be on the test and when I said that I wasn’t quite sure because we are not privy to that information, they thought I was lying.  Why would I not be able to tell them what they would be tested on?  That didn’t make any sense to them or to me.  

But here are their words for you to read, and if you feel like it, please leave them a comment on our Kidblog.  It would mean the world to them.

I asked, “What Are your thoughts on testing?” 

Buddy wrote:
I actually have mixed feelings about this, and here they are. Doing tests on the computer is better because technology makes learning easier for me. I’m not happy about doing tests because it takes too long. Sometimes if I answer enough  questions correctly, I have to answer questions about what a passage from something means. Yes, answering what a certain passage means is easy. Would it be that easy if it were in French or Spanish? I like doing tests on paper because everyone gets the same test. It doesn’t bring you up to a level where it’s in a foreign language. In 2014 tests will all be on the computer. If the class doesn’t get good scores on the test, then the teacher could get fired. If your class dislikes you and they always go home every day and say to their parents “My teacher was so unfair today” then you could get fired for no reason. If your class just does a bad job on the tests because they don’t like you you could get fired. When you will do your test, it might affect your teacher’s job. I like doing tests on paper because it doesn’t hurt my eyes after a while, unlike when I do tests on the computer for an hour and a half. Usually I get headaches and my eyes hurt. The thing that bothers me is that someday everything will be replaced by technology. Someday your written tests that you do today could be valuable and put in museums someday. How do you feel about that?

Cecilie wrote:
They think when they test us that is all we know wrong we know things that they are not testing us.  So they think that we don’t know anything when they are the ones having us test stuff we do not know. It is there fault we are getting bad scores.

Amber wrote:
I don’t and it makes me kind of nervous.  My class read a article about we having to do more tests in middle school for next year.  They will be harder as the year goes along.  Also, the computer can glitch, but paper can’t.  I feel like I can do more on paper.

Megan wrote:
I am not a fan of computer tests, like, at all.  I get so nervous taking tests on computers, I am always shivering before them.  In my opinion they don’t show what you know, because the tests don’t have everything.  So pretend that somebody is like a genius in pan balances, it might not be on it and they got a low score, they might of gotten a higher score if it was on the test.  We have had MAP test (on the computer) and WKCE tests (on paper)  I feel like I can take my time on the WKCE because I don’t know who is finished or not.  Also I really like the privacy folders on the WKCE, they make me feel less panicked and it seems like a regular test.  Now in the MAP test a totally feel panicked!  I am usually one of the last people taking it, and I can see who is done and who isn’t.  The people that are done are reading books or playing on the computer, and there is no privacy folders for me to not see that.  When I am one of the last people taking the test I feel panicked and rushed.  I also hate the MAP test because I can’t go back to check my answers.  I bet that the new computerized test would be a ton like the MAP, school in the 2014 would be horrifying!

Graham wrote:

1. Sometimes they don’t ask you the things that you are learning in school
2. People sometimes get tired or worried so they just guess
3. They can get really, really boring for most people, so they don’t pay attention
Standardized testing is one of the things I look forward not to doing.

Please go to their blogs and read their thoughts, as always, I am baffled that we leave students out of this debate.  Ask you students how they feel and give them their voice back.  

4 thoughts on “So I Asked My Students Their Thoughts on Standardized Testing”

  1. Cool question to ask your students. Thanks for doing that. I tried to leave a comment on your kidblog but maybe it was full? I would love to hear some responses to follow-up questions for your students like:1. How could students best prove what they have learned from school?2. What would show a school has been successful?Children are the future–they are likely to know some better answers than we presently have!I love that you are talking to them about the things that affect them.

  2. Thank you for sharing your candid comments! My son is in 4th grade and has said similar things. Maybe I should have him write a blog post about standardized testing too. Thanks for the inspiration! I want more adults to listen to the voices of our students.

  3. This is a very interesting blog and is very relevant to my research project focused on Student Perceptions of Computerized Testing and Its Impact on Student Test Scores. If you don’t mind, I use all most of your students’ perceptions in my research to better understand the underlying problem with digital testings and determine ways to succumb such struggles. I am a nurse educator and totally agree with your initiation to ask your students. We are here because of them, so their voices need to be heard to help improve their academic performance and help them to succeed.

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