Current education policies support an over-emphasis on testing and assessment at the expense of all other aspects of K-2 education. Research shows us that standardized testing is developmentally inappropriate for early learners. And, there is absolutely no evidence that standardized testing contributes to the growth, development, learning or daily well being of children. So, why is it happening? In 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act when into effect requiring students to be tested annually and schools and teachers be held accountable for their students’ progress. However, lawmakers and politicians are uneducated on best practices in early childhood and have no regard for the fact that young children should not be assessed the same way as older students.
STATEMENT OF POSITION
I believe standardized testing should be abolished in K-2 classrooms and replaced with assessments that serve in ways that enhance opportunities for optimal growth, development and learning. Young children need opportunities to engage in active, age-appropriate, play-based learning. They need to figure out how things work, explore, question and have fun (Carlsson-Paige, 2008). In his book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined Salman Khan (2012) says, “Nurturing this sense of wonder should be education’s highest goal; failing to nurture it is the central tragedy of our current system” (p. 59). Assessment of K-2 students should include carefully selected informal and formal strategies that measure precise characteristics over several designated periods of time and in different contexts.
INCLUSION OF SUPPORT FOR ARGUMENTS
Standardized tests do not have a place in K-2 education and should not be used for making decisions about young children and their programs. There is plenty of time for that later. Standardized tests have their uses for older children, but only as an audit function, not as a measure of knowledge and skills of individual children (Carlsson-Paige, 2008). We know that children develop at individual rates causing inaccuracy in the testing data. And, people outside the education profession often misuse test data for their own purposes. School districts use test scores to justify budget requests, judge teachers and determine merit pay. Schools often misuse...