Story by Briana Johnson. Photo by Lavar Streater.
MAY 26, 2016: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was issued in 2002 by President George Bush. This was made to help children, but it turned out to stress them out with too much testing in 2016. Now President Obama wants to stop it.
Testing pressures us to focus on passing a test instead of learning content needed to be successful on any test. We are constantly taking Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests, Interims and Benchmark Assessments, Formative and Summative Assessments, Quizzes and Quick Checks, and the annual standardized test taken in the Spring. We know for a fact that sometimes we get tested on stuff we don’t know and it is stressful to kids like us. And teachers should not have to bunch up their lessons when testing time comes up. Every time before a test, teachers say that we have so little time and yet we still have so much to do.
I read in an article that there is more failure in classwork than success on standardized test. Too much testing is messing up Obama's plan for preparing all students to have college readiness. We aren’t college ready in math because the lessons that the teachers give us are different from the material of the Math Map testing questions. And that is why we are confused. I asked a few teachers at my school why this is happening. They all had a common response that tests and standards are unaligned and present material to students on tests that have not been taught.
Kids are pressured a lot to meet the testing standards. This is happening to me right now! I have to take a MAP test on Wednesday, after we just finished the PARCC test last week. This is so crazy for students like me. There are many students who may want to attend an Ivy League college, but that may be compromised by NCLB testing. Too much testing can stop some children from learning at their own level. This can also stop children from learning because all of the time we spend on testing consumes learning time. “Kids that slack in class usually do so because they are confused or disconnected from the lesson and do not see the relevance in their lives”, said Ms. Jackson.
Another problem that Obama has with NCLB is that there’s no time to teach college ready material to students at the appropriate grade levels. This may mess up students’ plans to go to college. This can be messed up because of the time being consumed by testing.
Teachers have to rush through their lessons and students have little time to get the assignments done. Obama said, “ Annual yearly progress is inadequate.”
I think that schools should stop testing so much because it stresses everyone out. We already take a number of tests like PARCC, Benchmarks, MAP, and in class summative and formative assessments. The PARCC test lasts three weeks in April. This doesn't make any sense. We do not get to master material taught well enough to demonstrate it on a test because we are rushing through lessons and then testing all the time. There is never a chance to process what we learned and practice it or even try to create it. For the teacher it’s just teach and test.
According to my teacher, “We should just choose three assessments to give throughout the school year. Test in the beginning to determine our baseline data and find out what we know from our previous grade. The teacher should use this data to determine what to teach us next or how to differentiate instruction for all the different types of students in the class. The second test should be given at the end of the first semester and should be used to measure how much the students have grown since the beginning of the year. The third test should be at the end of the year to see how much we have grown since the beginning of the year's test. Baseline assessments at the beginning of the year, MAP in the middle, and PARCC at the end. I’m sure teachers, students, and parents will be more invested and supportive of three tests, than what seems like a thousand tests in one year!”
Briana Johnson and Lavar Streater are 6th grade students at Friendship Blow Pierce Academy.