Monday, April 18, 2011

May 1990: The Misuse of Standardized Tests

Question: How are standardized tests misused?

Answer: Overuse. Remember that the following remarks appeared in a column on assessment in The Reading Teacher for May of 1990:

“The greatest misuse of standardized tests may be their overuse. While I can certainly respect the need for some form of accountability, one of the most blatant overuses of standardized tests is in state assessment programs where every student is tested every year.”

Comment: Fast forward to Monday, April 4, 2011.The following item appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer: Headline: Obama: Too Many Standardized Tests. Washington—President Obama said Monday that students should take fewer standardized tests and that school performance should be measured in other ways than just exam results. Too much testing makes education boring for children, he said.
“Too often what we have been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools,” he told students and parents at a town hall hosted by the Univision Spanish language TV network at Bell Multicultural High School.
Obama, who is pushing a rewrite of the nation’s education law that would ease some of its rigid measurement tools, said policymakers should find a test that “everybody agrees makes sense” and administer it in less pressure-packed atmospheres, potentially every few years instead of annually.
At the same time, Obama said, schools should be judged on criteria other than student test performance, including attendance rate. “Young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in,” Obama said. –AP.  RayS.

Title: “The Role of Tests in a Literacy Assessment Program.” John J. Pikulski. Reading Teacher (May 1990), 686-688.

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