By Mitchell Robinson
As a parent, I sit down and talk to my children's teachers at least twice per year at parent-teacher conferences about their work in school, and receive regular updates about their academic, social and musical development.
I check their homework, help them with projects and talk to them about their studies every day.
I can check their grades online any time of the day or night.
I attend their soccer games, band concerts, piano recitals, and school events, so that I know not just what they are doing, but have the chance to meet their friends and their friends' parents--many of whom have become good friends.
As a teacher, I engage in continuous formative assessment, tracking my students' progress as learners, and using the information gathered to improve my practice as a teacher.
I provide formal and informal updates on my students' development, and offer mentoring and guidance whenever asked--and often when not asked.
I know my students as persons--their strengths and challenges, their goals, their aspirations--and am fully committed to helping them achieve their dreams.
Why would I need standardized tests to tell me anything about my children, or my students when I already know so much about them?
The only purpose for these tests is to evaluate teachers and schools--even though we know that these tests are neither valid or reliable for those specific purposes--and to make millions of dollars in profits for the corporations that develop them.
Stop the madness. Let kids learn. Let teachers teach.
Pull the plug on standardized testing.Mitchell Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education at Michigan State University. Prior to his current position, Dr. Robinson taught music for 10 years in the Fulton (NY) City School District, and held collegiate appointments at the University of Connecticut and the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Robinson recently concluded a term as Academic Editor of the Music Educators Journal, and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Music Teacher Education, Arts Education Policy Review, the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, the International Journal of Education and the Arts, and Research Issues in Music Education. His research is focused on education policy and the mentoring and induction of new music teachers.