Weekly Digest #11: Revisiting Standardized Testing
As Learning Scientists, we clearly support testing (or retrieval practice) as a means of promoting student learning. We have included blogs about the value of standardized testing, the pushback from parents and teachers, and even systemic issues discussed in a documentary in standardized testing. For a summary of our thoughts on some benefits of standardized testing, we recommend that you read through our Boston Globe piece.
However, what we haven’t done is provided much information about what others have to say about standardized testing. This is a very political and multi-faceted issue, and while we firmly believe that testing promotes student learning, we think it only fair to offer up evidence on both sides of this issue.
1) Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America? by Standardized Tests ProCon.org
For those new to the debate, this brief article highlights the relevant history of standardized testing in the US and primary evidence for each of the major pros and cons regarding standardized testing.
2) The Value of Standardized Testing by Gail Gross
In this article, Dr. Gross discusses the value of standardized testing for feedback about curriculum objectives and student performance changes.
3) The Benefits of Regular Standardized Assessment in Childhood Education: Guiding Improved Instruction and Learning by Gavin Brown and John Hattie
In addition to discussing the many beneficial outcomes of standardized testing, Brown and Hattie describe the proper way that standardized tests should be implemented to reduce the negative consequences associated with testing.
4) The Case Against Standardized Testing by Quinn Mulholland
Mulholland describes the accountability issue of standardized testing in some detail, highlighting the effect of high stakes testing on students, teachers, and the curriculum. (Note: we encourage LOW stakes quizzing to promote learning)
5) ‘These Tests Don’t Define You’: Third-Grade Teacher Pens Inspiring Letter to Young Students by Dominique Mosbergen, @dmosbergen
Again, due to issues of accountability, some students may feel undue pressure from standardized tests. Here a teacher attempts to reduce the stakes of standardized testing for students in a positive way.
Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here: