Testing not a problem; if anything, give more

newsroom@islandpacket.comApril 15, 2014 

I keep hearing reports of people's concern that students have to spend too much time taking standardized tests, tests that cause lost instruction time and create pressure and stress for the students.

Sixty tests in a student's career is an average of five a year, or one every two months. That doesn't sound like overload. The reason tests bring stress is because of their infrequency.

I taught in a West Point/Annapolis preparatory school where we gave sample tests weekly.

Students learned from the sample tests and were comfortable taking tests. They sailed through the real exams confidently, without stress. Tests are a great learning tool, but students must see their errors and learn from them.

Teaching "to" a test is not necessarily bad, if it's a good test, perhaps especially in math and English.

Sample ACT and SAT tests can be found on the Internet for practice and learning. These tests are good. They are not a waste of time. If anything, more of them should be given in our schools. They are splendid learning aids.

Standardized testing implies a certain degree of nationally standardized curricula, which is important for students moving from one school or state to another.

Children in military families or others needing to move occasionally will benefit if they come into a new school having covered the same material. If your child in a new school does not know the multiplication tables and all the others do, it is going to be hard for him.

Daniel Hoyt Daniels


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