March 28, 2020

Taught to take tests

After reading William Bennett and Rod Paige’s commentary, “National school test needed” (BDN, Sept. 22), I felt compelled to write.

Speaking as a high school senior, I have endured my fair share of standardized tests, from the MEAs to the SATs (I and II), to advanced placement exams, to the Maine Learning Results, and believe me, the last thing kids need is another test to take. Honestly, teachers feel it necessary to teach test taking rather than critical thinking, because they are judged on student performance. There aren’t many things that are less stimulating than being told how to take exams.

There is a reason students are falling behind in school, and it has nothing to do with a lack of educational assessments. Students are not interested in school because they’re bored with being taught to take standardized exams. The fact is that kids don’t want to be taught, they want to learn, and are only resentful of being force-fed bits of information.

There is another reason students aren’t doing so hot in school, and it has to do with their parents. Many adults really don’t care, or at least don’t know how to show they care, about their kids’ education. Not all parents belong in this category, but a significant number simply believe it is the school’s responsibility to make sure their child studies.

My advice: Lay off the standardizes tests, or pick one and make it good; stop letting politicians of all levels have a say in the education of the youth; and start taking an interest, a serious one, in your children’s education.

You’ll be surprised what kids can do when they’re motivated.

Catherine Zielinski


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