Review of a Video on Standardized Testing


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The video I chose was Assessment in Math and Science: What’s the Point? Workshop 5: You WILL Be Tested on This!: Standardized Testing. After viewing the video I have learned the pros and cons of the standardized test. The main discussion was on the Massachusetts State Test and the implications teachers and student face in teaching and taking the test. The video was important on focusing not on teaching to the test, but pointing out ways to focus your teaching on students performances in the classroom and how to bridge the gap from rote testing to a child’s ability to move into an active assessment format.
To begin, I learned that forty-two states mandate a standardized test to measure the teaching accountability in the classroom. Dr. H.D. Hoover mentioned that policy makers like the standardized test because the test is a cheap way to test and that the test results can be published for everyone to see, which leads to another problem with staff, the district, and the community wrapped up in numerical data. After all, districts sale real estate based on test scores, teachers move to other schools to teach at a higher performing school, and superintendents move to different districts based on these test scores and this directs focus on numbers rather than the quality of education taught. Standardized testing is mostly to produce inexpensive accountability data and most state test does not match the state’s standards.
Let us take a look at the make-up of the standardized test to get a better understanding of the types of information the assessment measures. Most standardized tests are made up of mostly multiple choice questions with a few open ended questions and short answer questions. The multiple choice question includes assessment on content, vocabulary, wording, distracters, visuals, and graphs. In the discussion of the multiple choice questions the teachers brought up a lot of problems with the multiple choice questions through the wording of the questions, to the information presented on the keys of graphs/charts, and evaluating the context of the question. In formulating the multiple choice question a test questions on subjects are given and the thinking ability of students are measured to formulate a distraction as answers. Distractions in answer format are popular choices made by misconceptions. Now, distractions allow multiple choice questions to be challenging rather than forcing the students to choose their answer based on the concept that all the other answers were not even relevant.

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Now, some teachers feel that this discriminates on the children that know the information when compared to those that do not. Also, some of the teachers felt that the open ended questions either applied to a child’s interest or the question did not. One positive component of the open ended question is that students have to use their active learning thinking process along with knowing how to phrase or relate the information to the question.
Secondly, the debate on whether standardized testing forces teachers to change their teaching methods to teach to the test or not. The teachers in the video all felt that they have sacrificed some of their teaching abilities and activities to allow room for teaching toward the test. They made a valid point, which was, that if you knew the types of questions on the test and the way a question might be asked would you not teach on that specific application.
There is more attention being paid for preparing teachers to be more effective assessors and to collaborate with peers to become overall better teachers. Dr. Hoover suggested that more involvement in informing teachers how to construct portfolios and assess a student’s performance through classroom activities and projects that information related to accountability could be relayed by the teacher rather than a standardized test would be promoting a quality education rather than a test. On the other hand, some believe that the standardized test provide teachers with valuable information to critique their curriculum for the next year.
The main component of standardized testing is to help children organize their ideas and obtained information so that they can focus on the task and questions at hand. To be effective the standardized test will always have to be moving forward every year in constructing questions that will allow students to become participants of the question rather than regurgitating memorized data for standardized tests to become an effective way to assess the accountability of teaching in the classroom. I believe that a fair and adequate assessment of the accountability of the classroom would have to allow for a variety of assessment rather than focusing on multiple choice question that often rely on rote memorization. I defiantly think that I would use portfolios for assessment and try to structure my curriculum around the test, but to make sure that I do not subject my curriculum to teaching to the test. But, I will make sure that my class as experience with multiple, short answer, and open ended question just to give them every valuable tool I can to have them perform to the most of their ability.



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