Weekly Digest #12: How to Make Standardized Testing Better
Last week, we published a digest of divergent views on standardized testing. Realistically, though, you’re unlikely to be reading our blog if you’re truly dead set against any kind of standardized testing – and in fact, let’s not forget the important point that any kind of test is actually standardized.
So let’s take as a basic assumption the idea that we do need some form of standardized assessment in order to determine whether schools are doing their jobs and students are learning. Given this assumption, how can we improve the process? Luckily, in the past few weeks, a few great blog posts have sprung up to address this very issue.
1) Testing, testing... why one test can't do everything by David Didau, @LearningSpy
In this short post, the infamous teacher-turned-columnist David describes what he would do if he was the testing czar, in 5 simple steps. Briefly, he says he would select a small sample of students at the beginning of the year, and another small sample at the end, and only test them.
In this very sensible piece, Martin begs teachers to be sensible, too – and stop spreading the high anxiety that surrounds standardized tests to children. In addition, Martin also calls for more testing – not less! – in order to reduce stakes and normalize the experience.
In this thought-provoking piece that focus more on the US education system, Jenn urges all of us to seek out our own information about standardized tests before forming an opinion. Perhaps by being more informed, Jenn argues, we could all make assessment a little bit better. As an aside, if you have any interested whatsoever in assessment, we highly recommend following Jenn on Twitter for her thoughtful, balanced, and terrifically well-informed tweets.
5) What Schools Could Use Instead Of Standardized Tests by Anya Kamenetz, @anya1anya
In this NPR blog post, Anya suggests 4 different types of alternatives to standardized tests. While we don't agree with all of them, they are certainly interesting to think about and evaluate.
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: