In the age of the No Child Left Behind Act, standardized test scores have become the all-important, end-all-be-all measurement of the educational world.
Schools have been relegated to teaching students to pass and excel at test taking so that they can maintain necessary funding to keep them afloat. But are test scores alone enough to distinguish good schools from not-so-good schools?
As this year's Criterion Referenced Competency Test scores are released, much mention will be made about the level of achievement for each school district and each individual school. Comparisons will be made to last year's scores or to scores between two similar school districts - we here at The News have done that very thing in today's edition.
Standardized testing is a scientific measurement of achievement used by educational systems to map the progress of students on a given subject at a given grade level. What standardized testing often does, however, is force teachers to stick to a curriculum based on a standardized test, leaving little room for the development of critical thinking skills and inference-based learning.
Students who appear to excel yearly on a test such as the CRCT may not be getting the best education - on paper yes, but in a real-world application, studying for a test is not the best method of gaining knowledge.
With the current educational climate, local schools are not to blame for the predicament they have been dealt. Change has to be handed down from the national level - the sooner the better.
Ironically enough, a governmental measure to raise educational standards for all U.S. children, has left nearly the entire system behind - fighting to keep up with unrealistic goals and struggling to play by an outlandish set of rules.
Locally, pressure has to be applied to political leaders. The change has to begin there. That is not to say that parents, teachers and students should not be the agents of that change - far from it. They should stand up now and become leaders in the fight to reform our educational system. Pressure has to come from every angle to get the ball rolling.