Recently there has been an attack in Texas on educators and administrators who have had to take standardized tests many times in order to teach in our classrooms. These test are supposedly designed to evaluate the educators knowledge base as well as their ability to teach in a classroom. The assumption is that once an educator or administrator passes these exams they are ready to teach our students. It is further assumed that if one does not pass these tests that they are somehow not equipped for the classroom.
The problem? How do you standardize one's learning or abilities? Each individual is different and to assume that everyone that passes the exams is a good teacher is crazy! There are instructors that pass these tests, that while they may have the knowledge base, their ability to impart that knowledge falls way short of what is needed.
By the same token, there are instructors that take this test and fail it. Some of these instructors are the most wonderful educators in the world.
So much emphasis is placed on standardized testing that learning is forgotten. Experience is the best teacher, yet experiential learning is a thing of the past. There are few, if any, field trips to places like the museum or the symphony. The only thing that matters, at least in the State of Texas is the darn test.
There are so many variables in the whole process. First of all, everyone does not learn the same. Then there is the fact that everyone is not a good test taker. Finally, you simply cannot standardize ones learining or one's abilities.
The real issue here should not be the fact that these instructors could not pass the test. Rather the issue should be whether or not standardized testing is a true indicator of one's ability to learn or one's ability to teach.