Standardized tests do not test ability of teachers


Art by Maddy Mueller

Early one Saturday morning, a high school senior sits down to the last of his standardized tests. How he scores supposedly represents his intelligence and potential for college. However, his results are inconsistent and poorly reflect his competence. He could take the test one week and do poorly, but the next week he could ace it.
In 2001 a study published by the Brookings Institution found 50-80 percent of score improvements from year to year were only temporary

Art by Maddy Mueller
Art by Maddy Mueller
and had no connection to long-term learning changes, according to Because of the inaccuracy of the results, standardized testing cannot accurately measure a student’s abilities.
If exams fail to reflect what students are capable of, there is no way that they can reflect the abilities of their teachers. Without a proper illustration of a teacher’s teaching abilities, it is impossible to logically determine a teacher’s abilities through the results. While there should be a way to measure teacher competency, standardized tests are not the answer for Missouri’s schools.
Incorporating Amendment 3 exams will raise the total number of tests students must take between kindergarten and 12 grade from 27 to 290, according to This increased number will proportionally raise the demand on teachers to teach the test, a pressure that already encourages teachers to “drill and kill,” which leads to a decline in the amount of time used for complex assignments and high-cognitive content, according to Additionally, in a 2007 survey by the Center for Educational Policy, 44 percent of school districts reported shortened curricular time spent on science, social studies and the arts by an average of 145 minutes per week with 75 percent of schools citing standardized tests as the reason.
Not only will students lose valuable curriculum in place of rote memorization for the endless examination required of them, they will lose interest in the tests themselves. In CPS, Common Core tests are often not included in students’ grades. In 2004, an English teacher at New Mexico’s Valley High School said many juniors didn’t take testing seriously, instead doodling on the test because it did not affect their grade, according to If students don’t see the value in the results, forcing them to take exams will lead to even worse representations of their competence, and therefore the competence of their teachers.
One way to reverse student effort would be to incorporate the results into the students’ grades; however, doing this would further deteriorate any efforts by teachers to refrain from teaching the tests. If students worried over their ability to perform, their attention would stray from curriculum irrelevant to their success, even if that curriculum better prepared them for higher education and success as adults.
In both situations, someone is cheated of what they deserve.
Students deserve a quality, well rounded education that prepares them to be successful, intelligent adults with skills necessary to find a career, keep a steady income and lead lives as positive citizens.
Teachers deserve the opportunity to do what they love — shape the lives of today’s learners and prepare them for lives in the real world. As employees, teachers deserve what every employee deserves: security, equity and due process.
Voting yes on Amendment 3 is a vote for an increased number of exams for students, which could cost over one billion dollars according to It is a vote for non-local control of schools and an unforgiving system of punishment for teachers. Even more, a vote for Amendment 3 is a vote for a standardized, one size fits all public education that school districts work so hard to avoid, especially CPS.
One of RBHS’ goals is to Maintain a safe, student-centered learning environment, according to the RBHS website. Standardizing education will only detract from the student-centered environment that RBHS faculty aspires to continue.
Students, families and educators who value the individual success of students must consider the implications of Amendment 3 before they check yes on the ballot that promises “better teachers” for the community. This is a hasty and expensive solution that will cause long lasting negative effects on the youth of our state.
By Emily Franke