Edgerton opposes standardized tests
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Updated: Saturday, February 14, 2009 08:02
Earlier this month, Professor Susan Edgerton from the College's education department presented a paper at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The paper was titled "Progressive Curriculum Leader-ship in an Audit Culture." Although the title sounds a bit confusing, it is really quite simple. Edgerton simply wants to bring to light some very important issues concerning both students and teachers at all levels of education. "Teachers are losing their voice in school curriculum for academics...it is all falling into the hands of the state government and entrepreneurs who are controlling our curriculum, and not by anyone who is thinking about it very deeply," explains Edgerton with a tone of concern in her voice. "Teach-ers can do curriculum work inside the classroom, but they are constantly restrain-ed by the implementation of standardized testing." Edgerton had been thinking about writing this paper for almost a year when a faculty member from Bowling Green State University invited her to write this paper back in November. She was honored at the conference, and she presented to included some of the top names in the field of curriculum theory. What Edgerton means by an "audit culture" is the idea that a standardized curriculum decreases a student's freedom to choose what and how they want to study a particular subject. "[It] gives immense control to a central agency," explained Edgerton, she also worries about a lack of trust in teachers by the government. Many government officials draw a direct correlation to the improvements in test scores on standardized testing like MCAS to the implementation of these acts such as the No Child Left Behind Act, but Edgerton fears this may be giving a false sense of success, "To call it No Child Left Behind is ingenuous when the people who disappear don't get measured. Since those kids bring down the test scores there is an incentive to have them leave. There is no validity to drawing that correlation we are social creatures, we cannot apply a scientific explanation to such a social question." Edgerton believes that the correlation is due more to socioeconomic trends. Unfortunately for teachers, the blame always falls on teacher preparedness when that may not necessarily be the truth. Edgerton also fears the idea of standardized testing being implemented at the college/university level. England has already experienced such repercussions in their culture due to the standardizing of education at the university level. "The public and the media has bought into what the government says," Edgerton went on to explain, "Children are more susceptible to consumerism when we need them to be less, we are going to notice it a lot more when it begins to affect higher education." The consequences that come along with the standardization of higher education are immense. Students choose a college or university that will best fit their interests, different colleges and universities have different strengths and weaknesses depending on the department, and standardizing higher education would eliminate the freedom students have when they choose a school. Another reason why this could be extremely troublesome is the fact that we may see a higher level of students dropping out of higher education due to standardized testing just as we have seen at the elementary and high school levels. For more information contact Susan Edgerton.