I have read many posts, articles and literature on the validity and necessity of schools and educators to use standardized tests when evaluating students abilities and progress. I have also followed the discussions and conversations among the educators within my Professional Learning Network.
I have come to the following understandings and summaries, after some personal reflection. There are positives and negatives in the uses and interpretations of standardized tests, but as I posted about long ago, individuals must consider why they are administering a standardized test and what are the intentions of the results.
Personally, I believe that there are some benefits of standardized testing, but not in the mutated manner which some individuals and policies are applying them. Standardized tests in my opinion should be used to assist rather than to sort, categorize and place students. Personally I use standardized tests in my classroom roughly twice a year. Each student is asked to complete a test at the beginning and at the end of the school year.
Why?, those that are adamantly against the use of standardized tests are screaming at this very moment. “Not only do you give the test, but you do it twice a year?”. Yes, I give the tests at least twice a year, but as I previously stated my reasons for testing are not to place, categorize or rank students. The intention of my tests are to ensure that I have the appropriate documentation, requirements and justification to provide my students with the services and funding that they need to grow, learn, feel safe, reflect, excel and better themselves.
I wish that every student in every school division, in every town, in every country could receive the services, allocations, accommodations and opportunities that are given to the amazing little kids I teach, but regretfully it is not so. It is however directly related to my administration, evaluation and reporting of these standardized tests that ensure my students receive all the possible tools they need to succeed. I feel no regret, no shame and no fault for asking my students to complete these standardized tests.
In addition, the administration of these tests gives myself, parents, future educators, counselors and other stakeholders an accurate representation of where the students are at that specific point in time. Allowing for the diagnosis of delays and disabilities in reading, writing, comprehension, reasoning and computation. Some of the test that I regularly administer are:
Woodcock – an individual assessment of reading skills for children and adults.
WIAT II / III – assess eight areas of achievement and targets interventions.
PPVT – measures receptive vocabulary for Standard American English.
PIAT – is a thorough individual measure of academic achievement.
KeyMath – is an in-depth measure of math proficiency, featuring all-new Canadian content and Canadian Norms.
Kaufman – is a brief measure of achievement in reading, math, and written expression.
EVT2 – is a measure of expressive vocabulary and word retrieval for Standard American English.
Whether to test or not is your choice, but make sure that your intentions and reasons for testing are appropriate, they should benefit the student, ensuring the highest achievement, not to rate, organize or categorize students.