A new study reported on by the Washington Post reveals that a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade. The study concludes that students are overwhelmed by tests of dubious value. Part of the blame, according to the study, belongs to testing companies that aggressively market new tests designed to conform with continually changing standards. An entire copy of the 164 page report can be found here.
There are no tests at a Sudbury school. None. One of the founding principles of a Sudbury school is individual responsibility. This means that each student is ultimately responsible for their own educational pursuits. However Sudbury students just do what comes naturally which is pursue their interests and hold themselves accountable. (In academic circles it’s called “Self-determination Theory.”) We’re our toughest critics. Sudbury students learn to harness their inner critic and compare themselves against their own goals and abilities rather than against each other.
No testing merely reflects the founding principles of a Sudbury school. However, an enormous volume of research shows that tests and other “extrinsic rewards” undermine natural curiosity and interest in the topic tested thus confirming the inherent wisdom of these principles.