Standardized Testing – The Dementor of Education Part II

Jul 25, 2008

Posted by Doris

Guest blog from Kadi:
A very special thanks to Kadi, who despite the reputation of being the “evile one” amongst her friends, is really an awesome teacher to a very wonderful group of kids. Thanks Kadi for helping me round out this blog topic from the point of view of an elementary teacher who teaches student’s with special needs.

In some Skyping with Doris the other night she told me she called
standardized tests the “Dementors of Education” which¦ maybe you have to be
a teacher to really appreciate it but seriously *dead* That’s right. She
slayed me with that.

I recently finished out my school year as a gypsy Special Education teacher.
So let me just lay down my own 2 knuts on standardized testing, a direct result of No Child
Left Behind aka Voldemort’s Decree.

Say a third grade special child is reading on a first grade level. This
student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and modifications for
everything they do in the classroom and YET they are required to take the
same third grade level test as every other student. If they fail said test
and have never failed a grade before they must repeat the grade, no matter
what their grades reflect (or so it goes in my state, I imagine other states vary).

I can hear your reaction. I know. I KNOW.

Anyway, onto a far more amusing thought¦ What if Dudley had a 504? A 504 would not put
Dudley in Special Education but it could provide him with some support for
his deficits…

We can all probably agree that Dudley was clearly spoiled rotten but his
inability to sit for more that 5 seconds without entertainment or food would
also probably be diagnosed these days as some form of Attention Deficit
Disorder. His tendencies towards bullying and lack of empathy were most
likely created by environment and not of his natural disposition but still¦
sociopath? LOL ok, a total stretch¦ but seriously, if we tried hard
enough we could attach some sort of disability to this kid in order to
provide him with a 504? Methinks, yes.

Which begs the question; would providing him accommodations at school have
made him a better student or possibly a better person?

Every one of us has had “that teacher” that to this day you remember. For
some small action, some effort, some wisdom they left with you. I mean,
that’s partly why I became a teacher. Supposing though that Dudley had had
“that teacher” write and enact his 504. Imagine the possibilities¦

* Some example accommodations:
* special seating away from other students

* a safe place for him to go be angry without repercussions

* separation from other students known to adversely affect him

* behavioral shaping (rewarding the behaviors you want
and ignoring the unfavorable behaviors)

* use of a timer to expand his time spent on task

* use of a behavioral chart

* use of food as an incentive for on task behavior

* alter tasks by shortening them or providing breaks

The list goes on and on.

Of course all the help a teacher could give couldn’t replace the home
environment fostering the crazy. At least though being at Smeltings, it
would have kept him out of his house and in a place where said miracle
worker could do some magic.

So, what do you think? Anyone forsee some scenarios? Am I just typing this
way too late at night?
> Slytherbites from,


P.S. Kadikins is the Director of Academic Programming, aka Head Nerd, aka
Slytherin for Smarts, for the upcoming LeakyCon Conference in Boston 2009.
She thinks you should seriously consider writing a proposal when submissions

P.P.S. Kadi would also like to thank Doris for letting her blather on
her blog!! :D

Kadikins (lounge name Kadi – Darth Kadar to her friends) is the Director of Academic Programming, aka Head Nerd, aka Slytherin for Smarts, for the upcoming LeakyCon Conference in Boston 2009. She thinks you should seriously consider writing a proposal when submissions open!

5 Responses to Standardized Testing – The Dementor of Education Part II

Avatar Image says:

Thanks Kadi for helping out! Great job!


Avatar Image says:

Great guest blog Kadi, and thanks for being such an awesome bloger! Darth Kadar Rocks my socks!


Avatar Image says:

Good points both of you. So glad Edublogger has a link to this blog I hope more people read it and say or do something. More parents need to know what this is really like.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks Doris and Maria! It’s really D’s fault for coming up with such interesting ideas/ possibilities, lol. It’s a little known fact but she’s a bit evile you know…

Avatar Image says:

Thanks Doris and Kadi for blogging on this topic! I’m a high school student in the U.S., and I’ve seen the effects of standardized testing. At my school, the teachers hardly ever focus on what we could be learning because the entire year is focused toward passing the state standardized tests and the ACTs. I’m in the gifted program at school, but it’s really difficult for me and others in the program to be challenged at all. Likewise, the students who are not at all dumb or stupid, but don’t necessarily perform at the level expected by the state and national testing programs, struggle to keep up because the teachers are so busy trying to cover all the test requirements that they often can’t explain topics in detail. Basically, my experience with standardized testing is that it is detrimental to all students, except for perhaps the 1% that perform at exactly the level of the tests. Personally, I’ve never met anyone who thinks standardized testing is a good idea. Sorry for the rant, and thanks for blogging!

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