When I was a child, we had multiple tests of our skills and aptitudes. Every week it was a spelling test, power math (also known as torture for the slow kids), and dictation. While growing up and going through that cruelty called education, I knew that it was forcing kids to have a basic comprehension and range of skills in order to be contributing members of society.
Now there is the Common Core. Some call it unnecessary heightening of the bar, others call it a means by which we force all children to be the same; and others simply call it “Satan’s handiwork.” Personally, I think of it as an unnecessary means by which we categorize our children; demoralize our teachers; and force children to learn things that will never be used in their everyday lives.
Adopted by 44 states, including Maryland and D.C., the Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards for elementary math emphasize that kids should not only be able to solve arithmetic problems using the tried-and-true methods their parents learned, but understand how numbers relate to each other.
2+2=What? Parents Rail Against Common Core Math. (NBC4 Washington)
I grant you that in my youth, we had many tests. I remember taking the Iowa test of basic skills, Literacy Passport Tests, Stanford Achievement Tests, and the Virginia Standards of Learning or (SOL). Too many tests, just to make sure that no child, worth saving, is left behind. After they came out with the SOL, I remember laughing uncontrollably, as without passing this test, you are unable to either pass to the next grade or graduate high school. Obviously the legislature wanted to tell the kids that they would have to learn the material or be SOL. Only in this case meaning shit out of luck.
I doubt that all this testing is necessary. A common standard of learning is required, but children do not need to have an understanding of physics, calculus, and geometry before they hit puberty. They need to grow at the speed, which, for them, is optimum. Gifted children, such as myself, can learn at a faster rate, and normal children can learn at the rate best suited to them.