Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2014)

Volume 11 Issue 1

ISSN: 1524-6345

Standardized Testing as an Assault on Humanism and Critical Thinking in Education

Noam Chomsky

Department of Linguistics and Philosophy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, USA

Email: chomsky@mit.edu

Arianne Robichaud

Department of Educational Foundations

Université de Montréal

Montreal, Canada

Email: arianne.robichaud@umontreal.ca


     This article discusses, in a critical perspective, the historical and philosophical background of educational practices such as “teaching to the test” and standardized testing in the United States, to demonstrates how the historical origins of those practices are profoundly rooted, as they are still based, on an ideological attempt to discriminate, influence, control and impose obedience over citizens. By exposing and referring to educational ideas from humanist philosopher Bertrand Russell, this article argues that: 1) Standardized educational practices represent an attack on humanistic and critical education, as they are politically made to annihilate students and teachers creativity, individuality and autonomy in order to create more effective measures of uniformity and control; and 2) Standardized measures like “teaching to the test” are more likely to destroy the American educational system than to improve it, as there is an ideology of privatization and power concentration lying under programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. This article ends on the proposal of a way to react, criticize and work against this phenomenon, which is the concept of intellectual self defense in education.

     Keywords: educational practices, humanism, critical education, intellectual self