Carol: Kindergarten “Testing” Is Insane
If these “tests” look like the kinds of admissions interviews that those applying to private schools routinely undergo, maybe there’s some limited value to them. But note that these private school admissions “tests” are often conducted one-on-one or in very small groups — and I’m not sure where we’re supposed to find the resources and the highly-trained personnel to administer them.
The problem with standardized testing that can be conducted en masse is this: It generally measures a student’s mastery of content — not his or her learning skills, or the personal qualities that are most determinative of success, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence (for more, read Paul Tough’s wonderful book “How Children Succeed.”) What’s more, young children are still such works-in-progress (and their attitudes and behavior can fluctuate so much day-to-day) that it’s almost impossible to see how they can be determinatively assessed based on a one-off standardized test.
When children are older, so long as we have teachers’ unions protecting their members from accountability (and preventing the truly great teachers from getting the recognition and rewards they deserve), standardized tests of content are probably necessarily to find out “is our children learning”?
But at five or six years of age, forcing the mastery of content is a ludicrous, terrible idea — the test preparation that will inevitably result will deprive children of the unstructured play time and opportunities to gain the skills that will really prepare them to learn — and learn well and joyfully — when the time is right.