The countries whose school systems outperform the United States don't teach to the test, and they wouldn't dream of using test scores to punish teachers. In places like China and Singapore, they are actively moving away from test-driven schooling practices toward ones that encourage creativity and flexibility, because they want their children to thrive in the 21st century's innovation-driven global society. And in top-ranked Finland, students don't take any external exams until the very end of their schooling career. In fact, the Finnish government actually spends 30 times more on professional development for teachers and school administrators than they spend on testing student performance!
2: American students are taking more tests and learning fewer subjects in school.
Public school educators, parents and students report that as low-quality standardized tests have taken on more importance, the amount of testing in school has increased while nontested subjects like social studies, art, music and hands-on science instruction have been reduced or squeezed out of the curriculum entirely. Because many of these subjects help students develop critical thinking, creativity and other vital 21st-century skills, forcing some students to forgo these experiences in exchange for testing and test preparation puts them at an unfair disadvantage.
3: Recess and physical education are being cut to make time for test-focused academics—even though many experts agree these are essential for kids' health and learning.
Worldwide, studies have shown that kids who are more physically active aren't just healthier—they do better in school, too. But many schools are reducing the amount of time students have for recess and PE, often to make more time for the kinds of academic topics that show up on high-stakes tests. (This trend is especially pronounced in low-income schools. )
4: When they feel they have a choice, many families opt for learning-focused instead of test-obsessed schooling.
Most private schools do not administer the low-quality standardized tests public schools are required to give. Many families choose private schools because of the small class sizes and full, engaging curriculum they offer instead. Similarly, growing numbers of concerned public school families are demanding this same kind of education for all children. Some are even choosing to opt their children out of high-stakes tests, asking for more enriching school activities.
5: Growing numbers of Americans agree that too much testing is hurting public education.
If you agree that learning is more than test score then click here to sign the petition and join the campaign.
Read the AFT Petition: Testing Should Inform, Not Impede, Teaching and Learning