Testing Has Run Amok

    The emphasis on standardized testing and college readiness is such that a well-rounded education and a school’s place in its community are being eroded. That was the conclusion of Eleanor Tritt, the district superintendent of the Amagansett School, in her comments to the school’s board at its meeting on Friday.

    “The narrow focusing on test scores is continuing to be an issue,” Ms. Tritt said, referring to an article, “Can School Reform Hurt Communities?” that was published in The New York Times in June. Appropriating so much time and resources to standardized test preparation and college readiness, she said, is a detriment to students.

    With the attention paid to test scores, as well as the application of new technology to teaching, Ms. Tritt said, “so much of the interpersonal relationships and ability to communicate interpersonally is being downplayed, yet that’s one of the most important factors in the global economy: the ability to communicate, to discover, to experience things hands-on, to have the physical movements that are so important to the children’s development.”

    Ms. Tritt referred to a second article, originally titled “Everything I Need to Know About Education . . . I Learned in Kindergarten!” Written by Sam Gliksman and published on the Web site iPads and Tablets in Education, the article, said Ms. Tritt, offers balance to the trends toward testing and college prep. “The ability of young children to play and what children get out of play,” she said, are aspects, particularly of an elementary program, “that are so important to the well-roundedness of a school.” This, she said, includes “creativity that young children have, the desire to learn, experiment, and explore, [and] the importance of socialization.”

    His article, Mr. Gliksman told The Star in an e-mail, “is about the emphasis on standardized curriculum and testing as opposed to learning through discovery and creativity.”

    Teachers and administrators, Ms. Tritt said, should “keep focus where it ought to be and not be so overly moved by the push for test scores.”

    In other news from the meeting, the board voted to award its “security and surveillance PA upgrades” project to Tyco Integrated Security. That firm had quoted a total of $123,428 for a new security system for the school consisting of a public address system, security surveillance, an access control system, a video intercom system, and a panic alarm system. The district’s taxpayers had approved the purchase and installation when they voted to approve the annual budget in May.