Have you ever questioned why standardised testing exists? Why do we try to make every child learn the same things in the same amount of time? If each person is unique, why do we expect all children to learn in the same way, at the same pace and then measure their intelligence using only a written test? What message are we giving to children from a very early age about intelligence?
I believe standardised testing was never invented thinking about the children. It allows us to have something to measure. It is a way that the government of each country can rank each institution in the educational system. It gives the impression that ‘learning’ is taking place in a school that has the best grades. But, are they really learning? If we really think about all the exams we did in school, was it not testing more our ability to memorise information that had been presented to us? I personally can remember very little from all the exams I have done but I do remember being affected by the results, whether it was in a good or bad way.
It is so important as parents, teachers and other educational professionals that we really start to question the purpose behind testing children. It is taking a long time for the educational system to adapt and change in line with the world around us because of everything these changes would signify.
If teachers are to personalise their teaching according to the needs of each child the first priority has to be smaller class sizes. We also have to take seriously the reality that every child has a preferred learning style, more commonly referred to as VAK (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic). There have to be activities throughout the day that take into account these different learning styles and there have to be other ways to measure children’s progress apart from written tests.
I think everyone would agree that no two people are the same, even if they are twins. Each one of us is unique and that is the amazing part of being human. However the present education system does not embrace this uniqueness. I genuinely think there is a lack of analysis of the purpose of education. Have we ever questioned ourselves as to what is the end goal?
Do we want kids to be evaluated by their memory skills, and affect their self-esteem based on a grade? Or do we want a person that knows who they are, their strenghts and abilities, and to develop those areas and interests to their ultimate consequences? Have we ever stopped to think which one of them will actually help to improve society? My brain says the latter.