Considering that there is no real evidence (that hasn't been politically spun) to suggest that standardized testing in elementary school has ever helped kids or their families, then why do we support such nonsense? As it stands, California's STAR test can go as long as 3.5 hours for elementary school kids, and 4.5 for Jr. High, and older, kids. (That is, it's a 3 to 4 hour test, plus any additional time kids may need... hence the extra half hour one can tack on.)
Let us be clear: this can be longer than the SAT that only college-bound students take in their later teens. Why test elementary children in this absurd manner just to satisfy bloated bureaucracy? Why spend the funds administering and categorizing these tests when our school systems are broke? Why make kids learn to a test which is superficial in scope and knowledge when they could be enticed to learn more deeply and creatively? Who ever said we all have to know the same thing, at the same time, in the same way? And here I thought America's strength lay in its diversity.
At no point in human history have children under the age of 10 been so frequently and superficially tested. There has never, before, been a need to test such young children in this manner and I say there is still not a need to test young children in this manner.
When elementary children receive their state test scores (long after the school year has ended) has anyone ever had a teacher say, "Based on your test scores last year, we have devised a brand new curriculum, just for you, to help you learn your best this year!" Nope. The child still has to go to the next grade and learn whatever is on the docket for every other kid in that grade level and are expected to take the same amount of time to learn it and take the same standardized tests as all the others. So much for the test having any individualized meaning. (Oh, but then the test wasn't devised to help children. It was devised to help bureaucrats.)
We assess young children with tests that may cause them anxiety and stress, but then we do nothing with the results except rank schools so that bureaucrats can decide whose funds will get cut next. How does this help young children? What does this have to do with true, meaningful learning?
I need to make myself a nice pot of green tea and meditate on the meaning of education. I think we all need to.