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Standardized Testing in Schools Essay

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Views on Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has long been a controversial method of assessment in our schools. Such tests are important indicators of student achievement and aptitude. However, some standardized test scores have been misused as a manner in which to track students, allocate school funds, and even determine teacher pay. Standardized tests, when used appropriately and for the right reasons, can adequately determine a student's present level of strengths and weaknesses and his or her aptitude for certain abilities.

There are two basic types of achievement assessments: norm-referenced and criterion referenced. In a norm-referenced test, a student's scores are compared to other students' scores to determine how the child is performing in relation to others his age (Woolfolk, A., 2004). A criterion-referenced test compares a student's scores to a set standard, not to other test takers. Criterion-referenced tests usually measure specific objectives and are helpful to teachers because they measure specific academic strengths and weaknesses (Woolfolk, A., 2004).

Included in these types of assessments are the three types of standardized tests: achievement, aptitude, and diagnostic (Woolfolk, A., 2004). The achievement test measures how much of the material has been mastered. Tests such as the ACT, ITBS, and ITED are all norm-referenced, achievement tests (Woolfolk, A., 2004). These tests measure mastery of such areas as reading comprehension, math computation, and verbal skills, along with social studies and sciences (Woolfolk, A., 2004). The aptitude test is used to predict future performance by testing abilities which have been developed over many years (Woolfolk, A., 2004). The SAT and the IQ test are examp...


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...nrichment opportunities for those excelling. For my classroom, effort on authentic assessments and work/progress portfolios will trump any standardized test score. Learning should be fun, and filled with many opportunities to explore and discover new and exciting ideas.

Works Cited

Hlebowitsh, Peter S. (Lecture). (2003, November 21). Foundations of American Education (2nd ed.). Wadsworth: University of Iowa Press.

Importance of Testing in Psychology and Education. (2002). Retrieved November 30, 2003, from http://www.a2zpsychology.com/articles/importance_of_testing_in_psychol.htm.

Reed, Eric. (Doctoral Student for University of Iowa College of Education). (Lecture).

Multiculturalism and the Testing Debate. Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher. (2003, October 21).

Woolfolk, Anita. (2004). Educational Psychology. (9th ed). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.


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