Students in Colorado Protest Meaningless Standardized Tests


One of the things that always drives me crazy when student activists protest conditions in their schools or political issues is that adults often dismiss their concerns as irrational or motivated by a desire to simply skip school. This video and letter  from students protesting the pointless and wasteful Colorado Measure of Academic Succcess test, puts the torch to those aspersions, demonstrating that it’s often students who best understand what needs to change about their schools—and that they often make far more rational, research-based arguments than the adults writing the policies.

The students clearly understand that these poorly-designed tests not only do little to measure their educational outcomes, but they do actual damage. They write:

Standardized testing costs valuable teaching and learning time.  Our school is losing eight hours of class time, the equivalent of eight days of a class curriculum, in order to administer CMAS.  This deprives students of time to connect with their teachers and prepare for tests, such as AP and IB exams, which provide students with the opportunity to receive college credit… At this point, we, who value our education and postsecondary readiness, feel that our time has been disrespected by policymakers who treat standardized tests, in which students had no input,  as a fix-all solution to our education system.

Of course, we need to assess the progress of our students. But when tests are consuming weeks of instruction, with little purpose other than to line the pockets of educational companies and give conservatives the tools to demonize our schools, the explosion of standardized tests must be controlled if we hope to focus on the actual education of our students.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Larry KraljDon PogrebaJeremy Trebas Recent comment authors
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Jeremy Trebas
Jeremy Trebas

Hey, I’m a conservative and I agree that standardized tests are often counterproductive to measuring true learning success. There is still a problem of trying to figure how effective schools are though…

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