Through all of my education to become a teacher, one thing was repeated over and over – you MUST differentiate! Differentiate for different learning styles, differentiate for students at different levels of English language fluency, differentiate for students with learning disabilities or physical accomodations, differentiate for students with different life experiences and/or interests – the list goes on.
So why is it that we continue to require standardized testing? What is standardized testing other than an expectation that all students should be the same?
In Texas, the new end-of-course exams come with a promise to be more rigorous, to test the subject areas at a higher level of complexity in order to more accurately assess each student’s understanding of the content. That is all well and good, but when the testing is high-stakes – where the score on the test influences both the student’s grade in the course AND their ability to graduate – why is it that we expect every student to achieve the same level of knowledge in subject areas in which many of them will never develop an interest?
I’m all for making sure that every student can read, write, and do basic math – even basic Algebra – but do we really need every student to understand Algebra II and Physics to the depth at which an end-of-course exam will demand?
The new TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in the sciences include standards that were never even introduced to me in my education until I started with my Chemistry and Biology for majors classes. Why does every single student in the state of Texas need to fully understand these components?
It seems to me like we are taking a step backward. While I can see the benefit of a student who is actually interested in a career in math or science to have a diploma that reflects that interest and a true level of understanding, I do not believe that every single student in the state should be required to achieve the same level of understanding of these subjects.
Sound off – give me your opinion!