Standardized Testing Versus Everyday Grades

Standardized test scores should be a tool to see how much a child has learned and his capabilities of learning even more. What happens, though, when a student scores very high on yearly standardized tests but receives failing grades throughout the school year? Not exactly what most students and parents would concern themselves about, right?

Nothing happens.

A case in point: A young Middle School student scores in the top 5% statewide on the standardized tests in Science. He receives his quarterly grade report for Science the same day he gets the standardized test results. The grade report is a solid “F”. What does this mean to the student? To the teacher? To the parent?

To many teachers this might imply that the student is not trying during regular class schedules; that he his lazy or just doesn’t care. It might mean, to the parent, that there is a problem, either with the student’s attitude, the teacher’s ability to teach and grade, or that there is an issue not being dealt with. To the student, this differentiability between standardized tests and school grades might imply to him that, though he struggles daily, he is not as stupid as his grades pretend.

The young person, in this case in point, happens to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder). He is applying himself in school but struggles with understanding what is expected of him and how to go about attaining the goals other people have for him.

Standardized tests, in this particular case, show a great deal about how much the student already knows. It proves that, somewhere along the line, he has picked up the knowledge that was presented to him in the classroom and elsewhere. Unfortunately, standardized test scores are not doing him any good even though he does well on them. His semester grades are what will get him through school.

Standardized test scores can tell teachers and parents a great deal about a student. However, unless those scores are interpreted in a positive way and acted upon in a positive way, they are useless.

For the child who struggles in daily work but scores high on standardized testing, especially those with learning or other disabilities, the scores should imply that a different approach to daily grading may be in order. Those who have low test scores but high daily grades, perhaps are merely people who have trouble testing. There are many, many people that fit into that group.

Therefore, to reconcile differences between standardized test scores and school grades, a great compromise must be reached and acknowledged. Each student is different. They react differently to testing and types of testing. They also learn differently in the classroom. To base any fundamental equation concerning the meaning of test scores or school grades that does not take all facets of testing and classroom into account will be exceedingly detrimental to all students.