Standardised testing what is it that we hope to achieve?

I am not anti school, nor is it that I have disregard for educating my children. It’s actually the opposite I am very invested in my children’s education and that’s exactly what has lead me to consider and approach home educating my children.

I think school could be amazing and I am sure there are many that are, but I don’t think one stream of education can possibily suit and get the best out of every single individual out there. Sure I had a pretty decent education in a mainstream setting but I always wonder if I had been given the chance, allowed the time and space to evolve creatively and academically, supported and nurtured allowing one to just be, how different my path could have been. I have no regrets as it’s all a journey and process but it’s only now as I open myself up to “un schooling and natural learning” that I realise the true value and wealth in it. We are born with the natural desire to learn and we should want to learn for life unless that is beaten out of us by what people define education to be. By the dictation of facts and fictions, rules and regulations that make up our days by what we have now become to know as necessity, mainstream education.

One of my main dislikes in the education system is the constant evaluation, comparison, competition and utter anxiety brought on by the relentless standardised testing. This model seems completely unnecessary and who is it really benefiting?  Why exactly do we need to mark and rank our children? Are we not just putting them in a box and telling them what their capabilities are and not really allowing them to truly reach their potential and then some? And what about those kids who excel at things that they may not get the chance to be tested on? We all have different gifts and talents, we are not meant to be perfect at everything so why not just allow children (and adults for that matter) to just love what they love, to focus and channel their energies on that?

Are we scared that if we don’t constantly monitor or control our children grades that they will fail out their in the real world? Do these grades really indicate how “smart” our kids are? How capable they are? Time and time again we hear of people who have succeeded in life coming from an unconventional upbringing, having little to no education (or education how we define it), even people who didn’t attend school or were “drop outs”. They were not constantly tested or evaluated. They followed their interests, passions found a persistence in learning all they could to ultimately rise above and beyond. People such as Aretha Franklin, Quentin Tarantino, Bill Gates, Ringo Starr, Richard Branson, Doris Lessing, Enzo Ferrari just to name a few and there are many more. All succeeded without finishing or attending school, all household names who have changed, moulded and guided the way in their chosen careers and areas.

Is it from a government or education body that these streamline tests are enforced? Is it more about lifting the schools/education departments profile to justify the money spent to attend? Making it enticing for you to spend your cash, investing in your children future. When you think about it what purpose does ranking children have to benefit the child? None really. We all know where our strengths and weaknesses lie and if we don’t life surely presents opportunities to highlight them. When the time comes you will step up to the challenge but in the meantime I don’t think placing a child in the top class or bottom class does anything beneficial but pigeonhole them and create stress and anxiety to either maintain or keep up before you get left behind.

I want school to be about fostering a love for learning, building a safe environment to grow, learn and tap into your truest potential. Not the constant barrage of testing and the environment of encouraging unhealthy competition. We need not promote to compete with anyone else but yourself. We are not here to be better than others and rate our worth against theirs, more to be the best we can be, to reach our greatest potential. To tap into our gifts and talents and utilise them. For me as a mother I don’t need the constant reassurance that my child is performing on par with his peers, that he is the best or worst at something, that he has the potential to reach great things if he can manage sit still in a class and reiterate information that most likely won’t serve him throughout his life and will be forgotten. I want my child to be the best at being them they can be. The spelling, the math they will learn it when they need not under our projection of what our needs and wants are but when they need and want to know. I want them to have a passion to seek information as they need it and utilise to tap into their desires and goals. I have come to learn in my own life, that we will get there, there being wherever we want that to be. All in which  we need to know is within us and for me showing a child the path to connecting to that is far greater than any knowledge that a school can provide.

“The medicine for my suffering, I have had within me all along.” Bruce Lee






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