Use Information not Opinions about Tests.

There has been a significant amount of discussion and literature recently posted referring to Standardized Test and Assessment. These discussion contain many valid ideas and suggestions however, there are also a significant amount of mutated opinions. My current educational assignment and training encompasses assessment, therefore I felt the need to provide some insight into the validity to standardized testing. I’m not saying that the current system and methodology is accurate and appropriate, I simply want individuals to make informed decisions and formulate educated opinions, much the same as we expect students to do.

Let us begin with some back ground. By definition standardized tests are tests that are administered and scored in a consistent or “standard manner”. This is by definition is any test or assessment that we as educators give generally give. They need not be high stakes, time-limited or multiple choice tests. When we as educators attempt to prevent the number of variables that can affect we are creating and administering a standardized test.

The mutation in respect to interpretation and purpose occurred within World War I when the United States military created Alpha and Beta tests to quickly and easily sort individuals into varying military areas, they were basically reading tests.

Now, the simplified back ground into misconceptions and improper use of standardized tests.  There are two forms of interpretations that can and do exist with standardized testing. Norm Referenced which compares test takers to a sample of peers and Criterion Referenced which compares test takers to criteria of a specific content.

Norm referenced scores are the primary reason current educators disagree with standardized test. They are associated with traditional testing which often results in ranking and ordering students in regards to achievement.

Criterion referred scoring is essentially an advocate for students, due to the belief during interpretations that all students can if they are assessed based on criteria, which is required of all students regardless of ability, socioeconomic status, religion or back ground.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing, too many to discuss here and debate surround the use and validity of them is a valid one. However, the debate /discussion in regards to accountability must occur first. As educators, parents, students and stakeholders we need to determine how we are going to determine and measure accountability. This will then allow us to determine the best possible method to assess our and our students ‘achievement.


4 thoughts on “Use Information not Opinions about Tests.

  1. Not at all Palinish. I thought you defined your terms adequately. I think G.Couros was wondering what your opinion was of the issue/ the efficacy of testing.

    • I suppose you are correct, I think I should some how link this post to a previous one that I wrote on Validity and Reliability. The issues / the efficacy of testing, great idea Todd, I think that will might just be the topic of my next post.

  2. I think the standardized test does have a purpose. I think we emphasize the test way to much! There are many assessments we do that are summative and formative that should be part of the picture when we measure a student’s growth.
    Great post!

    • Thanks – I agree however, I think that so many within our profession have been tainted by the improper use of testing that the only answer that is apparent is to get rid of them completely. I believe that measure and presenting a students growth is the most important thing maybe I am biased because that is the general measure I apply in my classroom. However, I would never say that standardized tests should not be used.

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