Ever wanted to know the big deal behind standardized testing? Take a close look at why standardized testing is important for students, teachers, and parents.
Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about standardized testing? All the hype about standardized testing has parents, teachers, students, and the community searching for the answers to find out what standardized testing is really all about.
Standardized testing is any examination that is administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. The purpose and reasons for standardized testing are plenty and must be fully understood by all those that are impacted by it. Standardized testing allows for comparisons to be made among schools in regards to student achievement, ensures accountability for teachers, and has the ability to inform instruction for educators. These important reasons show why standardized testing is one of the hottest topics in education.
One reason for standardized testing is its ability to allow for comparisons about student achievement among schools. How do we know how well students are performing among various counties in Georgia? How can we determine which students are performing well in various states? We utilize standardized testing data to answer these questions.
Without standardized testing, we cannot make the necessary comparisons that impact student achievement. Public school students in Atlanta, Georgia are required to take the same test as students in Savannah, Georgia. This means that a student in Atlanta can be compared to a student in Savannah. The same is true for students that live New York or Texas. The ability to compare this data is invaluable for the profession because it shows us what is working and where it's working. This can lead to meaningful conversations that can help us continue to improve student achievement.
Teacher accountability is another major reason for standardized testing implementation. Teachers make the decisions about what happens in their classrooms. What they do in the classroom has a significant impact on student's performance in a given year. Because standardized testing measures student mastery of grade level standards, standardized testing is utilized to hold teachers accountable for the work they do.
For example, this fifth grade teacher focused on making the best decisions to ensure his or her students mastered the standards. Their performance on standards test serve as one indicator of what my students learned during his or her instruction. Standardized testing allows us to gather the data needed to let us know just how teachers are doing.
Data Driven Instruction
Lastly, standardized testing provides the data needed to help teachers decide what to teach and to whom to teach it. The data that is derived from standardized testing instruments should be used as a tool to inform instruction. Good teaching relies on data provided by standardized testing to guide what we do in the classroom.
Think about a teacher who has fifteen students, some whom have mastered the standard of multiplying two digit numbers and others who have not. The teacher in that classroom is responsible for using this information to decide what to teach to ensure not only successful mastery of the standards but also exceeding the standards as well. Because we work in classrooms where students operate on varying levels, we must use all the data available, especially that from standardized testing, to help students learn what is necessary.
When the data tells a teacher that students aren't grasping the information, they will be able to incorporate other strategies to reintroduce the information to the students. Grouping, differentiation, and using technology are just a few strategies that can be utilized to help students learn the information in a different way. The data provides clarity about student needs that teachers can use to make informed decisions.
Standardized testing is a meaningful part of the educational process. The data that it provides helps inform us about teacher accountability, allows for comparisons of student achievement data, and aids teachers in making data driven decisions in the classroom. Understanding why we use standardized testing is important to not only practitioners, but also to the various stakeholders that are a part of the educational process. The proof is in the numbers.