The schools will tell you that they need more time to prepare for the “test,” but we understand that the "test" is a one day snapshot of what kids were able to do on that particular day and in that particular setting.
We also think all of us should be questioning the secrecy surrounding the tests. Why can't teachers and parents see the test questions AND see the answers their children have given on the tests? What would happen if the adults knew how tests are scored? What would be the harm in letting kids know exactly which items they did well on and which ones they did not do as well on? Is there not a learning opportunity there?
I believe that the reason for the secrecy is that there are major inherent problems with the test questions, the test reading blocks, and the supposed right answers.
Below, John Oliver, admittedly a TV comedian, breaks down nicely what I believe are the problems with testing in schools today. His show on HBO, although purposely funny, explores very serious topics using research and fact checking to find logical conclusions and solutions to problems.
We also believe that giving kids lots of opportunities to explore STEM topics will increase test scores and overall achievement much more that test prep ever could. The problem is, you cannot “sell” this in a test prep package. It would appear that publishing companies have hijacked your children’s school experience by creating reams and reams of test prep materials that they sell to school districts for millions and even billions of dollars.
Here is a more serious look at what the current state of testing is doing to our children.
STEM education is paramount to your children’s future success in a global workplace.
According to the National Science Foundation, STEM related jobs grew from 1.1 million in 1960 to about 5.8 million in 2011. This growth represents about 3.3% compared with overall job growth of 1.5%. STEM related job growth is twice as fast as overall job growth. If that isn't enough to grab the attention of parents seeking to help their kids prepare for the workplace later in life, we don't know what will.
As a proportion of all jobs STEM related jobs grew from 1.6% to 4.1% in that same time period. That's pretty impressive! Here is a more comprehensive article from the NSF concerning the job market as it relates to STEM jobs.
Another positive indicator for the future of STEM related jobs is how the numbers indicate that females are enrolled in equal numbers in many STEM field at the undergraduate level. But we have work to do. Check out our article concerning females in STEM education for more details on those findings.
At YML we focus on STEM education through Engineering for kids clubs, robotics teams, activities that stress stem for kids, and more. We allow kids the tools to become the next generation of coders, hackers (in a good way), builders, and thinkers! As a result, we are proud of a makerspace where kids of all ages and abilities can come to imagine, create and share their ideas, projects, and processes.