Children learn by testing their limits, not taking tests. If students are going to discover their talents, explore their interests, and pursue their passions they should spend more time looking up and beyond the classroom and much less time looking down at standardized tests.
A standardized test cannot measure and predict who will be successful in college, career, and life just as a driver’s test can’t tell who will speed, text, or drink and drive as an adult.
Learning is a lifelong process, it is a self-directed and self-paced journey of discovery…not a forced march and “race” to a learning standard or data point.
The purpose of learning is not to “arrive” at a particular level of proficiency “on time”. As long as we are alive, most people are continually learning, and the “journey” never ends. Education should be focused more on preparing students for lifelong learning, rather than high stakes testing.
What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge,
and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.
~ George Bernard Shaw
School programs should be broadly focused and developed with the academic, social, and emotional needs of each child in mind. Non-routine and content-rich classroom activities should be passion driven and student-centered rather than data driven and test-centered.
Learning unfolds in a vibrant and vigorous environment where student growth is cultivated and regularly nurtured not standardized and repeatedly measured.
What does education do?
It makes a straight-cut ditch out of a free, meandering brook.
~ Henry D. Thoreau
What if the college and career readiness mandate of the Common Core is too narrow and consequently the standards that were written to support this mandate are misdirected and insufficient?
We should consider how the Common Core State Standards and classroom instruction would be different if the mandate was instead to prepare all students for the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood and employment?
Perhaps Common Core learning activities would be more likely to cultivate transferable academic, social, and emotional skills, while helping students to acquire work-based behaviors that will support student growth and learning regardless of the academic or vocational path they choose to follow in life.