Standardized testing, modern education killing creativity

Modern day school systems are killing creativity. In a world where humans create so many new inventions and need people who can create solutions to problems never seen before, school systems around the world are limiting student’s abilities to become problem solvers.

It all starts with standardized testing. In America alone, students between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade take about 112 mandatory standardized tests, roughly eight tests per school year. According to the Washington Post, there is no evidence that adding testing time improves student achievement.

Testing eats up between 20-25 hours of class time just in testing mode each year, not to mention the amount of time spent on teaching and studying for these useless tests. These numbers don’t take in account any “optional” tests that are offered to students, such as AP tests and others of the sort.

Students have become so bogged down in learning for the sake of standardized testing. First in elementary school, the same tests follow students through middle school, until finally they culminate in the ACT and/or SAT. These tests are seen as the most important tests that are taken in a grade school career. The testing doesn’t end there though. In college, there are still tests such as the MCAT, LSAT, and GRE, creating a seemingly never-ending string of standardized tests.

In preparing for these tests, we learn that there are only two things in life: right and wrong. In the way that things are learned today, there’s only one true answer for everything and it leaves no room for any mistakes. But it is through mistakes that creativity can thrive, and if we do not allow for mistakes, we do not allow creativity.

One place this creative difference can be seen is in how differently elementary school kids are taught than students in high school. Elementary students spend time in their early years drawing and coloring to learn, and learning in more than one way. As students advance in their years of education, their learning techniques become less creative and more structured, turning from drawing and creative learning to lectures and specifically drilled information.

The solution to this problem is simple. We need to allow students, not only in primary school, but in secondary and higher education, to be more creative.

Countries like Singapore that are on top of the world education league table, are currently trying to move beyond the tests that they rank so highly on, and are trying to integrate a more creative curriculum. This transition from an emphasis on standardized testing to a emphasis on creativity is overall what the world needs, but unfortunately it’s the opposite of what America has been doing recently.

The way that education is carried out today not only limits creativity, but also makes students feel like if they don’t get everything exactly right, they aren’t good enough.

This happens not only when students think about their intelligence, but also when they think about anything creative. When a student makes an art assignment, something to be graded, giving out a low grade is like saying that their creativity is bad and wrong, and leads to long-term effects.

It isn’t right to crush someone’s creativity, and in all honesty, it’s crippling to society. In the world we live in today, it’s the creative minds that are the most important and powerful as we continue our trend of innovation through the 21st century. School systems and current curriculum are not only killing creativity. They are killing the future.

Source: Volante Online


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