Being Creative in the World of Standardized Testing

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a great test taker. I never have been and I likely never will be. When I was in elementary school much of my learning was based on the standardized test each student had to take. In return, these tests were used to evaluate my elementary school and the level of learning we all were receiving.

I had always been an “A” student but when my test scores came back, you would never believe it.  Based on these scores, the school system wanted to place me in a remedial math class when I entered middle school. My mom would not allow that. My grades always proved I was a good student, you could not base me off of one test, she would say.  Thanks to my mother, I was placed in a regular math class where I continued to receive A’s each marking period.

This story leads me to this month’s objective – Jobs and Employment. We were asked to take a look at the necessary skills not included in today’s educational curriculum that may be essential for young people to have for their future in the job market today.

So that immediately had me asking – Is the focus on standardized testing useful for students in their future careers?

I spoke with Charles Fadel, the Founder and Chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign to get a better grip on the educational system. Fadel’s background and experience is nothing short but inspiring.

He is a global education thought leader, futurist, and expert, author and inventor. He is a visiting practitioner at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where he explores curriculum, residing concepts and teaches seminars titled “Interdisciplinarity – The World in 10 Curves.” He also serves as a member of the President’s Council of Olin College, Chair of the Education Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, Founder and President of the Foundation Helvetica Education and Co-author of just published “Four-Dimensional Education – The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed.”

He has spent his career focusing on the education curriculum and ways to improve it so students leave with the ability to be creative and have the skills and necessary character quality to succeed in this complicated world.

Two major issues Fadel pointed out is the challenge to keep up with the ever-changing technology and SAT tests.  “What we’re teaching is no longer relevant for the time. We have advances to technology that are challenging the word of work.” Fadel’s main purpose is simple, he wants to make education relevant again. SAT scores show a narrow view of the world and doesn’t express overall what is important for a student to learn. “What makes you an individual person should matter – focus on what you know but what you can do to behave and how you can reflect to adapt your learning.”

So what does that mean? Fadel’s main work takes into consideration the way curriculums are being taught in schools. He finds that teaching theory doesn’t allow children to explore their minds and be creative. And if this continues, many jobs will become obsolete. “There are App’s that are your personal assistants, what are you supposed to do when machines and artificial intelligence and apps do all the work? Drones will eliminate delivery so you [could] go from being a driver that requires little skill set to needed a higher level of skill set to operate a drone.” The ability to not be a narrow thinker and to explore your skills set is important to succeed in the business world and this is what is lacking in our education system.

“Every job will be affected one way or another,” Fadel reiterated. The question is, will you have the ability to learn new skills and adapt to make yourself of value to any employer?