“Sorry, I’m Not Taking This Test.”

Standardized tests don’t seem to be leveling the educational playing field. Is it time to say: Enough?

High school senior Kiana Hernandez estimates that she has spent about three months during each of her four years at University High in Orlando preparing for and taking standardized tests. She is part of a growing movement among students to opt-out of taking these high-stakes tests.
Photo by Robyn Twomey, Mother Jones

Studies show that by the time the average U.S. student graduates, she has taken more than 113 standardized tests. This is more than her peers in any other industrialized country. Is it time to put an end to this flood of testing?

In this probing magazine article, Kristina Rizga reports on the growing trend of students opting out of taking standardized tests. She examines the history of the testing movement and provides critical analysis of standardized testing’s harmful impact on students and education. Intended to level the educational playing field, the plethora of tests appears to be doing just the opposite.

What is the alternative to so much testing? Are there other, perhaps better, ways to assess student performance? Rizga’s article looks at new approaches to promote learning and to close achievement and opportunity gaps.

This article appeared on the Mother Jones website on August 24, 2015, and was featured in the September/October 2015 issue of the magazine.

Kristina Rizga is the author of Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Student and Teachers Who Made It Triumph. The book was published in 2015 by Nation Books.

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Read Kristina Rizga’s article: “Sorry, I’m Not Taking This Test”

Kristina Rizga covers education for the independent news organization Mother Jones. She also wrote the book “Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It and the Students and Teachers Who Made it Triumph.” Before joining Mother Jones, Rizga ran WireTap, an award-winning political and cultural magazine for young adults. She is co-founder and editor of The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, based in her homeland, Latvia.