Standardized Tests School Perfomance – Yes

This question is phrased quite poorly, and as a teacher, my natural instinct is to scream “Of course not!” when it comes to the issue of more testing, however, standardized testing – when used correctly – can actually benefit the student, teacher, and the school.

The way testing is being used in many school systems today is a disservice to the student and the teacher. Students are tested, usually once mid-year. This test is used to determine all sorts of things – how much the student has learned, his or her reading and math ability level, etc. It is even used to evaluate the child’s teacher. However, most of these standardized tests are DIAGNOSTIC – meaning they should not be used as an evaluation tool. They are simply a diagnosis of the student’s aptitude.

When used correctly, a diagnosis can be helpful to everyone involved in the learning process. It helps a student understand his or her strengths and weaknesses. It aids a teacher in knowing what areas to focus on with that particular student. It helps a parent better understand the learning needs of their child. It helps a school match a student with a program to meet his or her needs.

The key to making testing work is to use them correctly – as tools of teaching, not tools of evaluation. Testing can determine the needs of a child, and if a school can meet the child’s needs, then schools are bound to improve as each child succeeds. Testing will fail when people use scores to point fingers, place blame, and discourage everyone involved.