Over-testing is an issue that parents and teachers are deeply concerned about for many reasons:
- The TIME spent testing takes away from meaningful learning time.
- The COST of these tests mean other important things are cut like staff, extra-curricular sports, music, art, etc. (Did you know that Chattanooga schools do not even have Art teachers? Their parent organizations must raise funds every year to hire real Art teachers and purchase art supplies!)
- The INAPPROPRIATENESS of these tests, especially for young children. Developmentally, children younger than 3rd grade should not be standardized tested.
- According to the National Association for the Education of Young Child, the odds that a test at the kindergarten level will give inaccurate results are about 50/50 — the same odds as flipping a coin.
- Relying on standardized tests to make important decisions about a young child’s education violates professional standards and National Academy of Sciences recommendations.
- Academic pressure in kindergarten has not produced better results. On the contrary, experts believe it contributes to failure, retention, and behavior problems. (Sources: Alliance for Childhood, NAEYC)
- The SAT-10 test is NOT ALIGNED with the curriculum or standards in Tennessee, according to Dr. Kathleen Airhart, TN's Deputy Commissioner of Education. In fact, the SAT-10 test has only a 75% alignment with the curriculum as presented in a presentation to the Knox County Board of Education. As a parent logically points out:
- "Would 75% alignment with curriculum be acceptable for End-of-Course (EOC) assessments and Advanced Placement (AP) exams? Those criterion-referenced tests currently in use were written with course content in mind. What would be the reaction from high school students (and their parents) if those tests were replaced by assessments that were only generally aligned to the curriculum? Would they be willing to risk grade-point averages and scores for college applications on assessments that were only aligned to 3/4 of the curriculum studied? If such jeopardy is unacceptable in high school, what makes it more acceptable in the primary grades, especially when the main purpose is to evaluate teacher effectiveness?"
- Testing is used to HURT our children's teachers on their evaluations. Low scoring children who are having a bad day, sick, upset about their lost puppy, who didn't eat breakfast, whose parents were fighting into the night, who got lucky last year and scored unusually high... all of those factors are out of the teacher's control, but she is unfairly judged by them. This is not fair and it is wrong. That burden should never be on our children's shoulders.
- Testing is used to HURT our public schools, by using the low-scoring schools in high-poverty areas as an excuse for charter chains to take over public schools. This is wrong. Public schools belong to the public. Citizens elect school board members to govern their community's schools. This sacred trust should not be given to profit-seeking investors.
What is the SAT-10 used for?
A parent who spoke during public comments at the Knox County School asked that very valid question. She was told that it gives the schools and the district "summative, systemic data." But the parent then questioned what the SAT-10 gives the schools that the STAR and AIMSweb assessments don’t. One of the answers she received was that it gives a "summative look at the curriculum." But she then asked, "Why don’t we just ask our teachers how the curriculum is? Wouldn’t they know the answer to that? Wouldn’t a teacher be able to see what isn’t working in their classrooms?" Her logic continued, "Our universal screeners that we are required to do by the state (which are STAR and AIMSweb in Knox County) are given three times a year, and these screeners are more summative than the SAT-10 given once a year, I just need to ask, WHY???"
WHY are districts giving this test??? Use your critical thinking skills. TN Parents wonder whose bread is getting buttered to get the lucrative state contract for this unnecessary test.