Standardized Testing and Course Work: Can They Work Together?

Since we are looking at course design this week, I thought it would be nice to touch on something that I know every teacher enjoys discussing: standardized testing.  Looking in the OLDaily blog this morning, I can across a blog talking about how testing should be the sole determinant of a student’s progress.

“I don’t think that scores on a national test should be a single measure of student progress. I think such scores are important as indicators, but should be used in combination with (as you suggest) grades on written work and examinations conducted by teachers.” -Diane Ravitch- “Bridging Differences”

Everyone one of us is faced with the difficult task of preparing students to pass a test in the Spring to determine whether we are doing our jobs.  So, if the only purpose is to pass a test, then why do we even bother with doing other activities that do not relate to passing the tests.  Things like projects, group work, etc. why bother with that if it is only to rise above the bar. 

The solution Diane offers is a interesting one.  Assessing student knowledge and finding out if they know the information may be better if someway the Department of Education could combine standardized testing with student course work.  This would solve a lot of problems dealing with issues related to standardized with some who do not perform well on them and with others who must deal with test bias.  Course work would help bring to the light that maybe the student actually does understand the content.  Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but like Diane said one single score should be the sole factor in determining whether we are accomplishing our goals or not.

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