We all know what standardized achievement tests are they are the test are students must pass in order for our school to qualify for federal funding under No Child Left Behind. right? That may be true, but standardized achievement tests are used for a variety of other purposes as well. Understanding the purpose behind standardized testing may help take some of the rub out of the current belief that standardized testing has done nothing more than force our schools to teach the test, effectively dumbing down both our curriculum and our students.
Standardized test are use to assess and quantify students in written language, reading and math. In some cases, they may also be used to assess social studies or science. The tests are available to students in a variety of grades, allowing for a students improvement to be tracked over the course of their school career. They can also be used to assess student’s learning disabilities and are used to test students who have taken advanced placement classes.
The test vary from state to state, with each state deciding which format the test should take, what content it should cover and other factors. The tests are analyzed by guidelines created by the company who created the specific test. The raw score is then converted to a more standardized format using tables that take into account the students grade and age. The standardized grading format typically uses the following terms: below average, above average and average.
These scores can be used to determine what a particular students strengths and weaknesses are as well as the school’s ability to educate them. Standardized achievement tests are not intelligence tests and should not be used as such. Schools can use the information to create more effective classes and curriculum. Standardized test should be used as a roadmap, not the final analysis of an institutions ability to educate students.