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Do you think there's too much pressure on school testing?
April 2, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Largest School Test-Cheating Scandal in History Failed Our Kids the Most

by Adriana Velez 

pencilsDoes anyone else feel like all that relentless testing we make our kids do isn't making them any smarter or better educated? If you don't feel that way now, the latest testing scandal might change your mind. A whopping 35 schools are accused of tampering with test scores in Atlanta, Georgia. It's the biggest school cheating scandal in U.S. history. The adults sold out the kids.

Back in 2008, two reporters for the Atlanta Journal Constitution thought an elementary school's amazing test scores sounded too good to be true. So they started investigating ... and the scandal grew larger and larger, involving teachers, administrators, and even politicians. Under insane pressure, adults in charge of educating children allegedly tampered with test papers and then lied to cover it all up.

The investigation led to a grand jury indictment that starts at the top: Reportedly, Superintendent Beverly Hall pressured principals, who in turn pressured teachers. Hall ended up collecting $580,000 in performance bonuses and was named "Superintendent of the Year" thanks to the amazing progress students seemed to be making on test scores. But really, what she did was "created an environment where achieving the desired end result was more important than the students’ education."

And that's the worst part of this scandal -- it hurt the kids. Instead of focusing on helping kids learn, educators were gaming the tests. And the tests failed to do what they were designed to do: Testing is supposed to reveal how well kids are learning.

If test scores are low, that could mean a school needs help. It could be more resources, or new teachers, or a different curriculum. But if you're tampering with test scores, you'll just hide failing or struggling schools. Cheating totally defeats the purpose!

I think what this scandal reveals is how much it's thrown our priorities out of whack. We've put too much pressure on kids and teachers to show improvement and perform well on paper. And in the end, I'm not convinced kids are getting a better education. I hope this scandal rocks the educators and parents so hard that we all start demanding change. Stop with the insane testing pressure and re-think all those rewards. It's time to go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to assess student competency.

Do you think there's too much pressure on school testing?

Replies

  • PinkButterfly66
    April 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Yes I do and it is really sad.  I think testing should be done every 9 weeks so the pressure is not to teach to the test or review for the test.  The tests would just be exams on that 9 weeks info.  If the tests were based on the curriculum, it would be a better indication of knowledge.

  • happy2bmom25
    April 2, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    no. teachers and administrators that cheat or are caught cheating need to be fired. do your job, do your job well and let the pieces fall where they may. teachers and students need to be measured and assesed. I am looking forward to one standard test to go along with the commom core curriculum. hopefully it will measure the teachers as well as the students.

  • Roo1234
    by Roo1234
    April 2, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    I think the people in charge of the money don't understand the realities and goals of education.  

  • Aslen
    by Aslen
    April 2, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Absolutely!!!!!!! A TEST does not measure intellect.

  • happy2bmom25
    April 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM


    tests are given for many reasons. are the teaching methods effective? is the child growing? how does the child compare to others, in the school, the county, the state, the world. weather my kids have a high "intellect" or not, i still expect them to obtain a competitive level of knowledge.

    Quoting Aslen:

    Absolutely!!!!!!! A TEST does not measure intellect.



  • EireLass
    April 2, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I totally agree. My son is one of those that was honors all through school, finished college 18 months ahead of time....just a brainiac. Put a test in front of him.....eeeeekkkk!

    Quoting Aslen:

    Absolutely!!!!!!! A TEST does not measure intellect.


  • EireLass
    April 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Problem is....sometimes so much is focused on the test score, they forget where the child really is. And to compare with other states, countries, etc....things are not equal across the board, so you can't really effectively compare.

    We are all familiar with standardized tests. My daughter never took one. Ever. Oh yes, they were put in front of her, but she always wrote across it "don't waste my time". She's also a migraine sufferer and missed alot of high school. When the Dean of Students called to complain about absenteeism, I could only respond with "well, gee, I wonder how she maintains her position on the Honor Roll....obviously it's not her appearance that makes the difference, it's the teachers inability to challange her".

    Quoting happy2bmom25:

    tests are given for many reasons. are the teaching methods effective? is the child growing? how does the child compare to others, in the school, the county, the state, the world. weather my kids have a high "intellect" or not, i still expect them to obtain a competitive level of knowledge.

    Quoting Aslen:

    Absolutely!!!!!!! A TEST does not measure intellect.


  • MsDenuninani
    April 2, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Absolutely.

    Standardized tests have changed the very nature of education.  Kids used to learn about arts and civics and citzenship - now those subjects fall by the wayside as teachers feel pressure to just teach to the test.

    Further, when you really think about the problems that some of these communities are having, raising their test scores really isn't the most important focus.

  • MeAndTommyLee
    April 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Good test scores = federal money. 

  • Ms.KitKat
    April 2, 2013 at 4:57 PM

     I think the pressure is placed upon the teachers by the admins. High test scores equate to higher funds and bonuses. So, when teachers are pressured, the students feel pressured. This I do not tolerate. No one else's issues will become my child's issues.

    I have taught m y children that the tests are for the teachers.I tell my children:  If their teachers did their job properly, my children will know all of the material and and will perform well. Just to relax and do their best. The rest is for t heir teachers to worry about. But also- NOT to allow their tecahers to stress them out.

    But, teachers are on edge the weeks leading up to testing. They are short-tempered, have less patience and are much more harsh overall. They take their stress out on the students. And this is for publuic and private schools alike.

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