I found this whole article to be disturbing as a future teacher by just knowing that there is racism in every aspect of the world today and knowing that I really have no control over changing that. I always knew that there was bias in standardized testing but this article made me realize just how much we have changed testing in order to leave behind those students of other races. I think the example about the changes in the assessment system is more devastating to me because I will be teaching students of all races and I have to create a safe environment for them. I have to keep my students comfortable and safe from racism and the school system is just reinforcing it through standardized tests. Testing students with biased assessments is unfair on all levels because it diminishes the opportunities for these students to succeed.
Guilborn has a way of pointing out the obvious and his words really made me think about who I am as a teacher and as a citizen. I realized how much I just stand by and watch racism happen because I don’t feel like it’s my place to intervene and get involved. I am a bystander as a citizen in the world of racism. But when I think about myself in a classroom full of diversity, I want to be the one who has no bias and treats my students equally. Guilborn forced me to analyze my own beliefs as a citizen because I have always held an ideal of what a teacher should be and if I can’t represent that ideal in my own self as a citizen then how can I do it as a teacher. I never really thought that an article could have such impact on me and make me re-evaluate myself on many different levels but Guilborn did that. I think in order to say that I am going to create a balance in my classroom and avoid racism; I need to practice that in my everyday life not just in my school and in my classroom. In order to be a professional in this area, I need to professionalize my life outside the school.
Throughout schooling we have always been taught that standardized tests are a bad thing to have in schools because of the bad reputation placed on them. We have been taught that standardized tests are biased to white middle class people because they are who creates them. We have been taught that they do not consider the different learning styles or learning disabilities of students. As well, we have learned about the ranking system that the standardized tests inflict on schools in provinces. In Guilborn’s article he argues that standardized tests may be a more fair approach in many instances where racism may come into the picture. I agree that standardized tests are used to see the level at which students are at and I also agree that standardized tests may be better because all the tests are the same and no matter what your race is, you are still taking the test and have the same “standards” as everyone else. The problem I have is that standardized tests are biased and even though they may give students an identical opportunity, that isn’t the case. Standardized tests are created by white middle class people and the questions are based around the knowledge that white middle class students can answer. Students of different classes and different races do not have the same opportunities outside of the classroom. So although the standardized tests do test students equally, the opportunities for success are not the same. As for the anecdotal records, I feel like Guilborn is arguing that they are also biased which I have never even considered a possibility. Anecdotal record, from what I was always taught, is a brief documentation of teachers observing student progress in different areas. Teachers systematically collect and analyze anecdotal comments, and evaluate students’ progress and abilities to use language and then plan appropriate instruction. With Guilborn’s idea that anecdotal records are biased, it is the teacher who is creating that bias. Knowing that some teachers may be racist and allow their students to fail because of their preference to certain races breaks my heart. Teachers are supposed to be giving students opportunities to succeed, not take them away.