Standing up to the Monster Called Standardized Testing

Amanda Lingwai

Photo by Amanda Lingwai
Photo by Amanda Lingwai


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  “What’s really the purpose of education,” when education is teaching to the test? That is a valid question posed in a Chicago Sun-Times article by a CPS parent, Rhoda Gutierrez, who is petitioning standardized testing and joining a coalition by many other parents and teachers all across the nation. “Scrap the MAP!” a campaign which began to erupt this year as teachers in Seattle’s Garfield High School took their stand against standardized testing to the next stage by refusing to give their students the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test to their 9th graders. The MAP test is administered three times a year and eats up class time and ties up computer labs.  Also, these teachers question the validity of the test’s results.

 On Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013, this stance became national as it was encouraged by all supporters, which included educators, parents, students and community members to hold meetings, press conferences, rallies, take photos and wear red. Locally, the Chicago Teacher’s Union and a parent’s petition by, took measures in joining the Seattle High School’s boycott. The Chicago Teacher’s Union released a report Debunking the Myths of Standardized Testing: A CTU Position Paper, by Carol Caref, a CTU researcher. It leaves one with the question on why corporate interests continue to push towards a test-centered public education system that is clearly harmful to students.

 Answering that an 8th grade education is really all that is necessary for the abundant “McJobs” that the American economy has to offer its bright citizens and really the “bottom line” of the business sector is the target for those pushing the testing agendas to be had, leaving educators without the control. Also, the idea that Americans should at the least be able to fill low-level service jobs is appalling and is not acceptable to educators, but is in the business sector.

   Since, 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act, called for Standardized Testing for Accountability, currently this has been questioned concerning the test’s accountability. As this excerpt from, the CTU report, mentioned earlier states, “Test scores fail as measures of learning when high-stakes testing dominates curricula and instructional practice…With extensive use of coaching, test scores may not even reflect true gains in the narrow subject matter of the particular test.” This then leads to a question.

     How pointless is standardized testing? As, the CTU’s report also states, “Excessive reliance on standardized tests results and test prepping makes for a poor transition from K-12 to college,” and, “Errors in standardized tests resulted in thousands of students flunking, not passing, college entrance exams and incorrect state rankings.” Standardized testing is pretty pointless and this is a cause of concern for pre-teaching students as testing will take away from creativity in the classroom when they become teachers. It will make them perform rote memorization activities so that thier students will learn the test’s answers and not the context behind those answers.

  Ultimately, these points of standardized testing’s pointlessness concern those here at the University level, since standardized testing has directly attacked their chances of success in completing higher education. This issue touches those who have to take remedial courses, those who are the first of their family to go to college and those who have children going or one day will go to CPS school.  Individuals who have attended a CPS school know that this is an issue that must be stood up to.

   Therefore, it is good to act now while the issue is being pushed and take a stand against the monster of standardized testing. Why should education be decided by a “bottom line” and not by those directly invested in it? People can join the petition by visiting the site: and get all the answers to this issue. Plus, most importantly, a chance to speak out by signing a petition against Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the Chicago Board of Education’s President, and call on an end to the overuse and misuse of high stakes standardized testing in Chicago Public Schools.  Stand up to the Monster of Standardized Testing.