In my state mandated testing begins today for grades 3-5. For a comprehensive look at the Pros and Cons of standardized testing check out this link: http://standardizedtests.procon.org/
In elementary school, there is more pressure on the teachers than the students. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented found
- Teachers and students feel a tremendous amount of pressure associated with high-stakes testing to produce high student test scores.
- The pressure felt by teachers associated with high-stakes testing results in drill and practice type of curriculum and instruction.
- There appears to be a consistent increase in test preparation activities in the period immediately preceding the administration of a test, ending abruptly following the test.
- Teachers generally perceive a top-down filtering of test-related pressure, beginning with central office administrators down to the classroom level.
- There is a clear feeling among most teachers that the focus on minimum standards and basic skills has diminished both the richness and depth of the curriculum and professional autonomy over curricular and instructional decisions.
- The pressure felt by high-stakes testing is greater in disadvantaged schools and results in more drill and practice instruction.
- There is a firm belief among teachers in both low-stakes and high-stakes testing environments that the pressure to improve student scores is steadily increasing.
As counselors, we need to support students and staff during this period of high stress. It is important to pass along the belief that tests allow students to demonstrate what they have learned and for teachers to identify what needs to be taught differently or again to specific students. It is important for overall school climate to foster an attitude of we are all in this together.