Is there a place for multiple choice questions? Sure. The problem with standardized testing (which so many legislators believe to be so essential to determining the success of various educational plans they like to implement) is that it relies almost exclusively on multiple choice testing, the talking head of direct instruction, and rote memorization. Suffice to say that legislators with no teaching experience, (not so) shockingly appear to have no clue as to how education takes place, what methods are effective, or what role psychology plays in the learning process.
The purpose of education is to enable student learning. If that is to happen, we need to stop letting people who have no idea how to teach, who haven’t spent a day inside a school room since they were 17, and who refuse to do their own homework, tell us how to teach. We need to know our students, their strengths and weaknesses, their passions and stumbling blocks, and we need to craft our teaching and our assessments to fit their needs. Of course it’s hard work, and no we don’t get paid enough for the amount of hours we work. But really, when was the last time someone trying to decide on their major said, “I’m going to be a teacher; those guys are rollin’ in the Benjamins!” We went into this profession knowing how crappy the pay was. We don’t teach for the money. We teach because we are passionate about helping students learn, and helping them have a significant experience that can enable them to live their dreams later in life. We inspire. We motivate. We can make logic and math the coolest thing since the release of Destiny on PC. We can make grammar more entertaining than a crappy film adaptation of our students’ favorite book. But we can’t do it if we’re focused on creating plain, glaze-free, craptacular, standardized education. One size does NOT fit all.