The recent article in The Bellingham Herald about students boycotting standardized tests was disappointing on many levels. One student declared that standardized tests are “unproductive and harmful.” Wow. Whether standardized tests are “unproductive and harmful” is debatable. What is not debatable is that if she wants a career that requires further education, she had better get used to taking standardized tests. Want to be a lawyer? LSATs and bar exams. Want to be a doctor? MCATs and bard exams. Want to be a scientist? GREs and advancement to candidacy exams. All difficult, stressful standardized tests. Not to mention the SATs to get into college. And how do you get good at taking standardized tests? You practice taking standardized tests. Not rocket science.
The deputy superintendent for the Bellingham School District’s glass-half-full assessment of this boycott was that it’s an example of “democracy in action.” More, I believe, like lemmings following lemmings.
Rather than tacitly encouraging students to smugly follow the path of least resistance, educators should be actively encouraging students to take these opportunities to challenge themselves.
Personally, I will be remembering this episode next time I’m asked yet again to shovel more money in the direction of the Bellingham School District.