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Why Every Child Should Opt Out of the Standardized Tests


Why Every Child Should Opt Out of the Standardized Tests

Diane Ravitch

Want to end the obsession with standardized testing? Opt your children out of the state tests.

Ignore the threats from state and federal officials. The tests today have taken over too much of the school year. Teachers should prepare and give tests that cover what they taught.


Qui bono? From testing? The private corporations that administer them. Testing, much like war, is a racket. Dr. Ravitch is right on the money of getting every child to opt out of this exploitive scheme that pretends to serve the children.


I remember when my son was complaining that the math they were giving him in school was not challenging enough and that he was bored.
So they gave him an aptitude test to see his actual level...

The somber guidance counselor came back and said that our son had done so poorly on the test that they were going to have to enroll him in remedial classes. So we asked to see the test and his answers so that we could discover his weaknesses.

It turned out that he had scored 100% on the test but they used the wrong answer key to score it. You would think that the officials and teachers would have wanted to see specifically what he had done incorrectly so that they would know their teaching weaknesses.

Our whole testing philosophy is wrong. The main purpose of testing should be a learning experience to allow the student to grow and the teachers to see what is not getting through. Instead testing is based solely on a reward and punishment model.


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In a nutshell, the corporations that are already making boatloads of profits from their military industrial complex (MIC) and prison industrial complex (PIC) scams decided to make their next big profit center the education industrial complex (EIC). After bribing the politicians in both parties to firmly plant the EIC, they have succeeded.


Another possible motive behind the explosion of standardized testing across the nation: to underfund the schools with the lowest or sub-standard test scores, eventually forcing them to close so charter schools can step in on their white chargers and save the students...or to fully privatize public education and make it another venture capitalist potential profit generator. All the while, the poorest and most vulnerable students and their families suffer greatly. Testing does not address nor factor in the reasons behind the low scores: poverty, homelessness, food deprivation/poor nutrition, lack of early childhood care opportunities, reduced after-school activities to keep children safe and energized about learning. Testing also leaves long-lived test anxiety and shuts down long-term learning/memory by taking away from Teachers' TEACHING as their time is mandated to be directed at "teaching to the test" and cramming without little-to-no critical or analytical thinking required. It is all short-term...cram and regurgitate leaving a trembling, dazed, exhausted student who has built an abhorrence for going to school and teachers scared for their jobs or at the very least, wondering what they have done with their lives/careers.


All of the replies so far have excellent merit. Follow the money back to the corporation that profits then to the politicians that financially benefit. Yes, test the politicians with these same tests and, while we're at it, let's give 'em all no notice drug tests three or four times a year. Bottom line is our system of government, run and controlled by a few oligarchs, is being challenged from all sides. The vast majority of US citizens are getting pretty fed up. A political revolution is 'a brewing. Can't we feel it? Can't you feel it? The sun is about to rise on that Dark, Shadow government! Can't you see it? Can't you see it? Please read "Devil's Chessboard" by David Talbot to begin to understand the type of psychopaths that have control of our government and the brutality to which they'll go to keep their power.


Bill Gates benefits by having his ego massaged by the proliferation of standardized tests due to his recommendation. Gates has only money as a measure for every- and anything. I've not forgiven him as yet for screwing up our public school system. The man's dangerous to clear thinking people.


Thank you for this article. I forwarded it to my husband. Our son does well enough on the test, but he used to do better under the old system. It sounds like they don't even learn anything from these tests except to use them to categorize people.


Perhaps because of stupid stuff like these standardized test requirements, it is one reason why you see more home schooling than ever before.


— THIS is much of our education "system" today.

— The seeking & SHARING of KNOWLEDGE that enhances our understanding of ourselves and the world we are connected to,


Ravitch says teachers should give tests that "cover what they taught." My problem with this is that not all teachers are teaching especially well, and not all teachers are coaching and inspiring students to master solid skills and content area knowledge. Entry level and then culminating tests in key performances can be a useful indicator of instructional effectiveness for a given year. We need useful tests like these, but they need to be referenced to content area standards, not mere teacher preference. Which can be construed as an argument for augmenting local standards with agreed upon national standards.


Totally agree. We need to ask: "What should our students know and be able to do at the end of the school year at each grade level?" We then measure at the beginning and at the end to see if they've mastered that year's curriculum. We conduct an error analysis to see the trends in the class, the school and the region to discover if we were off in teaching the curriculum or if a student was off in learning the curriculum. We make appropriate adjustments in teaching and learning accordingly. We also recognize that disabilities, poverty, and family turmoil can drastically affect student learning outcomes; we support all students and families in addressing obstacles to learning during the course of the entire school year, not because of the test results but, rather, because that's what good educators do.


Yes. A deliberate curriculum is the key. As you said, if we can determine at the outset what we are trying to achieve (what skills mastered, what knowledge understood, what habits of mind do we want to encourage--i.e. confidence to ask questions, willingness to listen to others, encouragement to participate and take risks, healthy skepticism etc.) we can then design the learning experience for the year as a deliberate, intentional focus upon these items. Really, there is so much that can be discovered & accomplished in a classroom with the guidance and expertise of a highly qualified teaching professional. But the standards need to be out there both locally and nationally--this is what professionalism is about, and the results can be measured.