Anne Perrin was born in 1948 and received the B. A. degree from the University of Houston, M. A. from Sam Houston State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Houston. She had worked as a teacher at the University of Houston, at Lone Star College, North Harris, and two public high schools. In addition, she served as a department chair for a private high school. Nowadays, U.S schools have many challenges related to its service provision. One of the problems is too much pressure on teacher’s staff and students by a superfluous number of testing and examinations. The aim of this paper is to analyze how some acts and lows, along with other kinds of testing, damage education, and teacher’s performance.
Nowadays, authorities’ focus on testing seems to be excessive, which constitutes one of the education system’s problems and leads to stress for teachers and students. Certainly, authorities seem to have a desire to improve the education system by identifying lagging behind regions. One can perform it through testing, but the leaders did not foresee that the load would be too heavy. One of the instruments was the No Child Left Behind law, which aim was to find out the level of students’ and teachers’ performance. The consequences could be described with the following phrase: “I’m writing this article dog-tired and frustrated.” (Perrin 7). Moreover, this applies not only to the teaching staff, which has a great responsibility and the volume of work. Pupils are under constant stress due to a large number of tests. Although this law is no longer in effect, standardized testing is still terrifying for educational staff.
Standardized testing echoes the No Child Behind law, which led to an enormous load both for teachers and for students. Meier and Knoester (64) state that it is the key instrument by policymakers to evaluate the level of schools’ and teachers’ fulfillment. However, one did not consider that students, besides these tests, also have exams, control works, essays, and so on. In addition, students are afraid to show bad results because they understand that this will affect the institution’s overall rating. All this leads to stress, which worsens the learning process and ruins the students’ mood. Being focused on the test results, students have little time left for other activities, such as sports or additional courses. One of these testings is the Texas Assessment of Knowletestings Skills (TAKS), which is constantly criticized by teachers’ staff. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills was designed to define the level of schools’ efficiency, though it led to damaging effects. Teachers hate this test because it is nothing about teaching but academic’s accountability (Perrin 8). Again, the entire responsibility lies on the teachers, which puts them under constant pressure and impairs their productivity.
Naturally, this leads to continuous stress since teachers do hard work in addition to these tests. This includes lessons, seminars, and the development of methods; in addition, one needs to choose an approach to each student. Professors need to process a large amount of information and ensure that the material is accessible and understandable. The responsibility for testing also puts some pressure, as the poor results can lead to real negative consequences, down to dismissal. Under such conditions, there can be no question of effective work, not to mention comfortable conditions. Besides, TAKS became an effective method of money earning in Texas. Along with suing the federal budget for inappropriate funding, authorities sell preparation instructions for state testing (Perrin 12). Not to mention taxes, which are collected from schools to the state budget. Such actions seem to put it mildly wrong when you look at it from the outside. Undoubtedly, the authorities have the same goals: they have the task of determining the level of efficiency by region.
Furthermore, under such conditions, it turns out that they have created the conditions under which it is necessary to pay money by themselves. Although, one may assume that any government programs should be free. It turns out that in addition to psychological difficulties, financial issues are also added. All these factors not only cause negative impressions but also negatively affect the productivity of the learning process. To all other, the current testing system implies that the teaching staff is responsible for poor results. In other words, if presumably the student did not study effectively enough and showed poor results, it is generally accepted that it was the teacher who did not complete the work. It seems dissonant since one could hardly find the teacher who does not work overtime, keep up with the development of methodologies, design plans for students’ satisfaction, etc. (Perrin 13). And these are not empty words since the author took part in assessing the effectiveness of teachers’ work (Perrin 13). In general, being a teacher, the author certainly knows how responsible and challenging this work is.
On top of everything else, one should understand that the very essence of standardized testing is not correct. It is well known that to properly determine the level of knowledge, a universal testing structure that would affect all aspects is necessary. Meier and Knoester (98) argue that standardized testing is based on a narrow spectrum of test-takers ‘ knowledge. In other words, no one can accurately determine the actual level of a student’s knowledge by such a model. It is formulated by the tests’ questions that cover a narrowly focused specific topic but do not depict the general picture. Simply put, the percentage of knowledge within a particular topic may be lower than in a broader range of issues. In this case, it is difficult to determine the actual level of knowledge of the test taker since there are no exact criteria. This also leads to confusion in preparation for testing, which affects both the entire educational process as a whole and its effectiveness.
As a result, one can observe that when developing such laws as the No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Act, the consequences of these were not taken into account. Namely, it worsened the productivity of both the teaching staff and education in general. Besides the responsibility for poor results lies with the teachers, which leads to a serious workload, the students are also under pressure. However, this system does not take into account all these factors, and few people from the outside will evaluate them. This leads to a general opinion that the teachers are to be blamed for the poor results and usually will not immerse in this issue to realize that it is not valid. Moreover, one earns some money on this process, and the testing structure itself is not correct. All this formulates the relevance of this issue and the necessity to change the situation.
Meier, Deborah, and Matthew Knoester. (2017). Beyond Testing: Seven Assessments of Students and Schools More Effective Than Standardized Tests. Teachers College Press.
Perrin, Anne. (2008). Stop Blaming Teachers.