Many years ago, when standardized testing was just entering the mainstream of education, I had the privilege of talking to a junior in high school who refused to take the test.
Now this was in the 70s, so I really mean a long – time – ago — long before accountability became fashionable. The principal was having a meltdown because this 1 student just said, “no” to taking the annual achievement test! Frantic, in the face of such defiance, he ordered me to find out what was going on and “make that student take the test!” I was not sure how one would extract reliable results for any assessment if the participant was not willing to divulge information. It seemed to me that even physical, emotional or social coercion could only produce questionable validity. I complied with the request to find out what was going on. I asked the student why they dared challenge the status quo by not submitting the contents of their mind as required.
The student answered, “I will not take the test because they will use the information from those tests to make decisions about my education and life that they do not have the right to make. (Civil rights?) They do not know me as a person, I am more than numbers on a scale. You can make me sit in a room and place a test in front of me but you can not force me to take a test”.
I have never forgotten the weight of the profound truth spoken that day. Why should anyone submit to such an invasion of their person. Decisions about the educational experience of a any child should be based on the deepest possible understanding of the whole child as the result of a trusting relationship. Not a score on a scale ment to sort and label children for recycling.
Read the full article: http://dianeravitch.net/2015/05/29/the-student-who-said-no/