Standardized Testing – Is it Costing Creativity?
When I started elementary school we still had recess, art, music and interaction with our teachers. Kids knew each other and we weren’t afraid about being in school. Our parents could come and pick us up directly from our classrooms without stopping at the office first. I know times have changed, people have changed and our focus on education has changed. I am beginning to question that focus. Schools focus so much on standardized tests I think they have forgotten the true importance of being a child.
Schools standardized testingcan mean empty playgrounds!
School standardized testing is a wonderful thing but at what point do we say enough and remember that creativity and ingenuity are the backbones of our country. Gawker reported an interesting story today, “ACT Report only finds 1 in 4 high school graduates actually college-ready.” The ACT is the school standardized testing used in high schools. It shows college readiness across four subjects; science, math, reading and English. The report, that the ACT released, states that only one out of four high school graduates are college ready this year.
Schools have changed so much. They fear everything (totally understandable) and accept little from students. They are so hard pressed to meet current standards that they have become out of touch with the world of today. I am from Oklahoma. Supposedly, I have Oklahoma pride. I can’t say I have that pride when I read about my state being out of touch with the world. Just this week, KJRH out of Tulsa reported “Oklahoma valedictorian’s diploma withheld for cursing“
Kaitlin Nootbaar referenced the popular Twilight movies in her valedictorian speech. In her speech, she spoke about graduating and what she wanted to do with her life after high school. She said, “How the hell should I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.” It was a reference to the popular movies. The school system didn’t approve and is now withholding her diploma until she writes them a letter of apology.
Schools can make opportunities!!
My son is now three-years-old. He will be starting school next year and his future concerns me. Our educational system is focusing more on school standardized testing and less on creativity. I believe creativity is one of our greatest assets. Creativity is what helps us in adulthood find solutions to problems. Unfortunately, our teachers are hard pressed to even know our children anymore. Many schools across the nation have done away with arts, music and recess. Middle schools and high schools have become nothing more than a holding ground for teens until adulthood. I know standardized testing isn’t the entire problem but it is some of it.
As a father I know, we can’t depend on the schools as the main source of our child’s creativity. Their future success depends on being able to show originality when they are still young. Many parents forget how important it is being creative as a child.
5 Ways for creativity
1. Turn off the electronics – Children spend far too much time in front of the television and video games and need more interactive and creative play.
2. Art supplies – Get out the crayons, glue, colored paper, glitter, scissors and create something. Ask your child questions about what they are making while they are doing it. Don’t just sit back and watch your child being creative, become creative with them.
3. Hobbies – Try to include your child in your hobbies, e.g. sports, cars, gardening, cooking and reading. I have enjoyed comic book collecting for a number of a years. I will show my son the comics and read from the comics to him. I will ask him questions about what he sees and what he believes is going to happen (sometimes I think he has a better ending than the comic book does)
4. Make a mess- As adults it’s easy to forget how much fun it is to get messy. Children have to experience some things first hand and that includes messy things. Let them make a mess the next time they ask too. My son recently wanted to finger paint. I got out a big plastic drop cloth and covered the entire kitchen table. We then placed sheets of paper on the table and he finger painted himself and the paper.
5. Make believe – Make it up as you as go along. Creativity is all part of the imagination. If you can visualize it, you can might be able to create it. My son has started telling me what he see’s in clouds. He might see a car or a house. I then will add to it. I find another cloud and tell him what I see. We might even make up a story about it.
I don’t have the answers to change our nation and schools standardized testing policies but all evidence is showing something needs to change. If we don’t it is possible we will have a lost generation of creativity and ingenuity.Where would we be if we never had another Thomas Edison? I think for now I will continue to work with my son on creativity.
How do you feel about school standardized testing? Do you think too much emphasize is placed on testing? Does your school system place any emphasize on creativity? Be sure to tell me in the comments.
Be sure to check out Andi-Roo at TheWorld4Realz who is writing about a month of controversy in the A to Z +1 August blogging challenge with me! Today is the letter “S” for School Standardized Testing – Does it work?.
Tags: act report
, college readiness
, high schools
, oklahoma pride
, standardized testing