Standardized Tests

Last week my district participated in the annual state assessment testing. This time of year is always stressful for teachers. We begin having meetings about what we should or should not do during the testing. There are rules for basically any occurrences that could happen. The state has a procedure for everything from students who come in late to students who throw-up on their test. Yes! I actually had this to happen one year. We had to place the test inside a Ziploc bag and return it to ensure that we did not keep the test to use as a guide for the next year!

When testing comes around, we begin encouraging our students to get in bed early and eat a good breakfast. We discuss how important it is for the students to do their best. Some teachers even promise rewards.

So what are standardized tests and why all of the fuss?

Standardized tests are tests that are given under controlled circumstances. There is a set guideline for when the test can be given, how long it should be given, and who can give it. There are rules for how the tests should be returned and how it is assessed. Under perfect conditions all test environments are completely equal no matter where you live in the state or what school you attend.

The tests are usually designed by a publishing company and are intended to correlate with state standards. They take into no consideration the teacher’s teaching or goals.

The tests, if created properly, will remove any biased factors and allow comparisons of various groups of children.

If researched, there is much controversy over standardized test and the emphasis placed upon them. Some will argue that the results are accurate and should be examined closely. Others feel that the tests are not fair and the results should hold little value. In my next articles, I will explore both sides.

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