The Case for Standardized Testing

Dec 2018
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Florida
So this is a touchy subject. Especially because there are a lot of things wrapped up in this debate (from student scores, educator evaluation, unions, funding, and good old fashioned lobbying issues). And me being a conservative who is getting back in to the education field? I find myself in a different position than both sides. I am curious how others feel on the subject.

I agree with the concept of standardized testing. I think it is a wonderful idea. A school should be able to measure students grade scores and evaluate them against other schools. They should also be able to see how a school is doing year to year. But that is where I draw the line. I believe it is not a good tool to measure teacher performance and pay. And the reason? I was a good student. But we all know those who are not. And when a teacher gets a bad class? There is very little to be done. Some classes are just NOT going to cooperate (which shouldn’t be a shock). A teacher’s performance should be evaluated by the administration. But I digress.

That being said? What should be THE standard for testing? It should be the SAT/ACT. Period. Students can start taking these in middle school (or younger). And these are what are required for colleges ANYWAY. And if a student has no intention of GOING to college? Other tests are really a waste of time. They should be preparing for their intentions and given skills to survive life WITHOUT a college degree (which you don’t need to make a living).

Anyway. Would people find reasons to object to using SAT/ACT as the only standardized testing format for students?
 
Dec 2018
5,975
2,451
Florida
Are you proposing using the SAT/ACT tests for elementary school students?

I can see at least one problem with that plan.
I absolutely am. Especially if one reviewed SAT/ACT tests and pulled questions that are at an elementary level. Skills like reading comprehension, basic math, and so on. We used to do achievement tests in elementary. They were just practice tests for the ACT/SAT. You are allowed to start at age 12 anyway (with minor rule adjustments). That matters.

And colleges do not require anything but an SAT/ACT and a high school diploma. Seems like a win/win.
 

ARMCX1

Former Staff
Jun 2013
15,162
9,941
SoCal
As a general tool for measuring scholastic performance measuring mastery of grade appropriate concepts, there's nothing wrong with standardized testing. Like everything else, education has become very partisan. Bill Clinton advocated standardized testing and the GOPs said it was government overreach verging on fascism. When Bush came in, they fell in line with No Child Left Behind and its standardized testing and threats to cut underperforming school funding. The result: school systems taught to the test and changed scores. DeVos takes it further on cutting school funding claiming that schools will do better if they have less. If anyone is familiar with the Baltimore school system and its lack of books and even heat, they'd see the folly of cutting underperforming schools without considering context.
 
Sep 2012
4,352
4,628
California
I am fine with tests that measure grade level competency but who sets the competency for each grade level? I am trying to remember the basic lessons in each grade when I was a kid in the 60s and early 70s.

Kindergarten: Manners, no fighting, finger painting, showing up on time, playing well with others.
First Grade: Reading and writing, Dr. Suess books. Basic arithmetic.
Second Grade: Addition, subtraction, more reading and writing.
Third Grade: Multiplication, division, more reading and writing, history of California, some US history, Columbus and the conquest of America
Fourth Grade: Multiplication tables up to 12 by heart, simple equations, more reading and writing, book reports, more history
Fifth Grade: Simple equations, more reading and writing, history of world, more book reports, how to use the library.
Sixth Grade: Basic biology, basic geometry, basic algebra, more reading and writing, more book reports, more researching in the library, more history.

Seventh Grade: Axioms, algebra, Latin or another language, history, art, English lit, syntax, grammar, etc.
8th grade: More languages, algebra, quadratic equations, geometry, mathematical proofs, history, typing, sex ed

9-12: College bound got more and more intensive, trade bound was the basics plus some form of shop class (wood, metal, auto, home ec)