Like a lot of us, the # 2 pencil is perhaps a nostalgic school item that many of us remember using for standardized tests that we took in school. We would take a timed test, answer the questions about a paragraph we just read, solve a division problem, all by filling in those little multiple choice circles with that #2 pencil.
One reason may be that many students simply do not perform well under timed and pressured tests like this. They may be smart and understand the content, but for some reason it didn’t come across on the test. Many students also develop ‘test anxiety’ which will cause their focus to go elsewhere. Teachers also have the pressure of getting their students ready for the exams and then end up focusing too much on teaching for the actual test instead of working on a student’s overall learning potential.
On the other hand, the standardized test can help to see if a child is at the appropriate grade level or how he or she is performing compared to other children in their school, their state and even in the country. Without standardized testing, we cannot make the necessary comparisons that impact student achievement. Teachers can also use these tests to make decisions about what happens in their classrooms.
The United States is the only advanced country to rely on these standardized tests. Other nations use performance based assessments to evaluate their students on the basis of their work such as essays, projects and activities.
So what is the correct answer for standardized testing? Does the U.S. place too much importance on the test or do you think it can be ‘tweaked’? There should be a clear standard for measuring academic performance but at the same time, there should be a way to encourage excellence.
So do you say “Yes to the Test”?
- I Don’t Know