Dale Jones, a local Cupertino California school principal, writes and attack on standardized tests in the May 29 San Jose Mercury News. (It is not online, strangely.) He complains that the tests take 6 hours (spread over several days), and adds, "what messages does it send to our children when we devote this kind of time to a test?".
He also complains that most of the kids have to take the tests in English, that the schools can't do fire drills during a test, and that test scores can go up if the school concentrate on the curriculum.
His real frustration is that he is unable to convince parents that the tests are worthless. Parents like the tests.
The message it sends to our children is that they will be graded on what they learn. The tests aren't much different from those that have been used for generations, except that the results are more widely reported and acted on.