That's the title of an article in today's Washington Post. The subtitle is "As Exam-Takers Get Younger, Same Say Value Is Overblown," and it's the first part of a series. LINK
Test preparation for children barely out of diapers is hardly something Lee learned while getting her education degree at the University of Maryland, she said. But it is what she says she must do -- for the kids' sake -- based on her past experience teaching in a Prince George's County elementary school.
"Kids get tested and labeled as soon as they get into kindergarten," said Lee, who runs the state-certified Alternative Preschool Solutions in Accokeek. "They have to pass a standardized test from the second they get in. I saw kindergartners who weren't used to taking a test, and they fell apart, crying, saying they couldn't do it.
"The child who can sit and answer the questions correctly is identified as talented," Lee said. "It hurts me to have to do this, but it hurts the kids if I don't."
Lee's approach underscores the culture of testing that reigns in the United States. Americans like tests so much that they have structured society around them.
"We are obsessed with tests," said Occidental University education professor Ron Solorzano, who used to teach in Los Angeles public schools.
"We are pretty much preparing [kids] for the SAT at the age of 6," added Solorzano, who also worked at the Educational Testing Service, the world's largest private educational testing and measurement organization.
Americans embrace tests because they are entranced with objectivity -- or at least the appearance of it, experts say.
"Merely having a number associated with something makes it sound worthwhile, even if the number isn't all that valid," said Robert J. Sternberg, dean of Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and former president of the American Psychological Association.
No topic in education sparks as much debate and division as testing -- especially standardized testing.
Staff writer Valerie Strauss also participated in a Post online chat this afternoon, and the transcript is here.