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Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, who co-wrote “The ADHD Explosion”, have researched the topic and make the claim that there is a connection between some learners being diagnosed with ADHD and participating in Standardized Testing in schools.
If it is true that the diagnoses are accurate and that available treatments may be valid my concern is more about who knew what was going on and when? Why was something not done about it in a more public way? Any statistics being quoted relate to the educational system in the U.S.
Recent follow up research suggests that this documented research may well be true. Apparently some physicians say there are some treatments that could help so it’s not that bad. Well excuse me but if I could PREVENT my child from developing ADHD as opposed to having he/she just a ‘little messed up’ I believe that I would opt for the prevention option.
The following statements are part of the research findings reported:
1. Young boys are more likely to develop ADHD symptoms than young girls–13%-5%
2. As of 2011, 6.4 million kids in the age group of 4-17 approximately 11% had been diagnosed with ADHD. The rapid growth of this illness is amazing. 7.8% in 2003; 9.5% in 2007 then up to 11% by 2011.
3. Some states seem to be affected more severely than others. For example, North Carolina, who had implemented the ‘No Child Left Behind’ program using standardized testing as a method to determine who was doing a better job at educating kids, had diagnosed 15.6% of all kids in the state as having ADHD.
4. Apparently medication can help moderate the symptoms. One side effect of taking the medication is better scores for those kids diagnosed and being treated. The better scores occur because the meds calm the students down so they are better able to concentrate longer. It comes as no surprise that some states began to take their untreated kids diagnosed with ADHD out of the classrooms prior to testing so that their scores wouldn’t bring down the overall results. Financial support from the Federal Gov’t in the U.S. depends on the quality of the scores. The lower the findings the less money is granted to them.
5. Young adults are now experiencing a rise in ADHD diagnoses which brings with it a huge increase in dollars spent on drugs. 85% of young adults on meds for ADHD are reported to be women.
To read more about this report click on the highlighted text.
Such definitive results in Canada are a bit more difficult to find but it would not surprise many to find that similar results would be indicated here as well.
For me the more important point to this research is this: Standardized testing is not only out dated as a reliable assessment tool but is virtually useless when determining a fair, unbiased and accurate account of how an individual learner is doing. It does not help to locate areas of needed improvement either. It simply compares a base line across a board that is filled with unfulfilled and disinterested learners. Now we can add that it is or can be detrimental to the mental health of our children and nothing is worth that risk. Standardized testing–Needs to be gone for many reasons.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”–Albert Einstein
Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim
Please send this out to family and friends or anyone you know who has school aged kids.
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