Saturday, November 5, 2011

Standardization is the Death of Excellence

The push in education for the past decade has been to standardize.  We have standardized tests for students.  Teachers are being asked to standardize their lessons, grading practices, and the pace that they teach.  States have made a push to standardize curricula by listing state standards in each subject.  Now the Common Core will standardize curricula in the entire country.

It's time to stop standardizing.  Standardization is the death of excellence.
Photo Credit: Jei-Are

Nobody goes to a car show to see standard models that rolled off a factory assembly line.

In a science lab, standardizing the experiments that all scientists are doing would be foolish and would prevent new discoveries.

You don't want all players on your favorite sports team to play at a standard level.

Nobody ever won an award for being the most standard in their field.

Standardization is not compatible with the world for which we are supposed to be preparing our students.  Innovation isn't standardized.  Critical thinking isn't standardized.  Students who are forced to focus solely on standardized testing in their school careers are prevented from excelling.  Teachers who are forced to standardize their teaching are prevented from being excellent teachers. 

In either case, innovation is impossible.

It's time to move in another direction.