An argument for testing: Does opting out matter?
13 Mar 2017

An argument for testing: Does opting out matter?


13 Mar 2017

As an educational leader, I have been asked why I choose not to opt my son out of high-stakes testing. It’s because I don’t care about the tests nor his scores. In fact, I don’t really care about any of the assessments nor grades he’s given in school, high-stakes or otherwise. I care much more about the skills my son is developing and the knowledge he is constructing; and that learning takes place within every aspect of his life (home, school, play, etc.). It simply cannot be measured through any sort of test.

Our students waste a lot of time in school (and with homework) complying with compulsory tasks that do nothing to develop within them the skills they’ll need as they make their way in this ever-shrinking world – testing included. Opting out of a few high-stakes tests won’t change that.

As educators, we need to be in the business of facilitating students’ construction of knowledge.

This can be done by modeling, guiding, mentoring, and purposively facilitating learning opportunities around critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, perseverance, exploration, reflection, and other soft skills WITHIN and THROUGH disciplinary content (e.g. social studies, science, health, math, language).

Unfortunately, our schools have devolved into places where information memorization is valued over knowledge construction, simply because while students’ retained information can be tested and quantified, their knowledge cannot.

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  1. Jeanette March 14th, 2017 10:33AM

    You sound as though you recognize the growing and pervasive problems with a test and punish focused school environment. But by all means, continue to participate in the problem. Can you imagine what things would look like today if the opt out movement had never existed? Simply thanking those that are fighting for your profession and your child’s education isn’t really good enough. It’s about being an upstander. It’s about choosing to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. What we allow is what will continue.