Here is an interesting article on the topic of standardized testing, sourced from Common Dreams. This would fit in with my criticism of the public education system entry of a few weeks ago, but it also is a good point to look at on its own.
While the articles initial comparison seems a bit over the top (todays rituals of federally mandated standardized testing VS cold war nuclear strike drills), its still an interesting read.
A part of the article seems to focus on how the testing does not help the teachers, due to the need to spend a lot of class time for test preparation.
Though I acknowledge and agree, I am more inclined to look at it from the students point of view. Such methodologies not only put a limitation on how much learning materials can be covered, but also do not focus on comprehension. You can be taught to repeatedly memorize any amount of random information, but its useless in the grand scheme of things if you do not understand it.
For this, I will use the example of sugar content (in grams per serving) of 4 food and beverage packages plucked from my recycling bin:
-one 695ml name branded Juice can (61 grams per can)
-one 500ml name branded juice/ice tea mixture bottle (38 grams per bottle)
-one 398ml store branded baked means in maple syrup can (21 grams per cup, around 2 cups of beans per can)
-one 650g name branded vanilla yogurt tub (18 grams of sugar per 3/4 cup, im thinking at least 3 to 4 cups in the container in total)
If you are like many people, that information will not mean a whole lot to you. Sure it looks like a large number, but its still just a number.
Until you consider that 1 table spoon equals 4 grams of sugar.
That is the difference between knowing, and truly understanding information. And in my opinion, that is where the standardized testing system fails students.