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Value or lack thereof of standardized tests..your opinion


Halcyon
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What purpose do these serve in your opinion? For me, I think it's good for my kids to get some exposure in preparation for the later years. But other than that, I don't know. This afternoon, my son completed a prior year FCAT Mathematics for 3rd grade and did well, but the questions were so...I don't know...weirdly specific? random? seemingly not about important skills? I wonder whether it's just this test, or whether all the tests are like that. (We have taken no other tests).

 

I thought it would show me "gaps" in his knowledge, but instead, it made me feel like...well, that's not a great question anyway :tongue_smilie:

 

Would love others' opinions.

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I don't want my kids to feel intimidated by them. Other than that, I don't really see the value of them. A specific test like the scantron test might be good (our enrichment school offers them). My friend had her ds take the scantron last year and it confirmed her guess that he was ahead and behind where she thought he was. She decided against it for this year.

 

I'm planning to test every year starting at the 3rd grade level even though it is only requred in alternate years. The tests are a fact of life for school kids and will be important later.

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In my opinion a test is only a snapshot of what that particular child knows about what is on that test at that particular time. Being that I don't teach to a test it really shows me very little. Someone decided what 2nd, 3rd, etc. graders *should* know and that's what is on the test. I guess it shows me how much my kids know even though we didn't necessarily study everything on it!

 

I don't hold much stake in tests at all. I know they are a necessary evil, however I don't lean on them for anything. I will make sure they are prepared for the biggies... ACT, SAT... and where I live dictates I must test them annually so we do, but I honestly don't care how they do.

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I know a lot of people will disagree, but I think practicing test taking (cuz let's face it - it's a learned skill, darn it) is a good idea if your kids plan on going to college or grad school. As much as I hate standardized testing, I know my kids will probably end up taking the PSAT, SAT, possibly the GRE, MCAT or even the ASVAB or DLAB. Depending on what career/field of study they go into...

 

Having said that, I don't think I will have them take standardized tests formally until high school...but I might printout some questions from old tests and expose them to the question format. I'll probably also do a "class" on test-taking strategies at that time.

 

Also, at our homeschool group, some of the older parents were telling us that there are scholarships kids can receive from certain PSAT/SAT scores.

Edited by starrbuck12
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It tells me if I am doing my job. I even tell the kids that it is to see how I am doing as a teacher and how I can do my job better or different.

 

But I only test in English and Math, because those are the 2 areas I want to stay with or ahead of grade level. As for the other subjects, I know we don't follow the same sequences that the schools do, so I doubt if they would be useful.

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What purpose do these serve in your opinion? For me, I think it's good for my kids to get some exposure in preparation for the later years. But other than that, I don't know. This afternoon, my son completed a prior year FCAT Mathematics for 3rd grade and did well, but the questions were so...I don't know...weirdly specific? random? seemingly not about important skills? I wonder whether it's just this test, or whether all the tests are like that. (We have taken no other tests).

 

I thought it would show me "gaps" in his knowledge, but instead, it made me feel like...well, that's not a great question anyway :tongue_smilie:

 

Would love others' opinions.

 

I thought the questions on DC's tests were weird, too. But I'll keep doing it because it's an easy way to fulfill the reporting requirements. And DCs do need practice taking weird tests.:D

Edited by nova mama
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I think it would be difficult to find a test that would cover the exact topics in science and history your child would have studied, but I think standardized tests do a good job evaluating skills such as math and grammar. I think it is a good way to show their true ability because it is usually a different format than most curricula. Sometimes kids can learn something but only know it the way they originally learned it. Will they be able to recognize the same process when it looks a little different than in their own books? Does that make sense?

 

I test mine every other year, but would more often if I saw a problem area. My state requires every 3 years, but that's not enough for me. My ds will take a test this year for 2nd and did in Kindergarten. I think starting that early was really good for him. He saw it as something fun and wanted to do more when it was over. It was all pictures, me reading it orally, and him filling in bubbles under the pictures. We will see how this year goes. It will still be orally presented.

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Are there tests out there that people feel DO adequately test your child's knowledge?

 

I have always felt the Iowa tests give me an accurate depiction of my children's knowledge.

I've been using them since my oldest was in 3rd grade and always accurately predict where my children will score.

 

Mind you~I do not stress if I see something on the test that we have not covered because we are following a different course than the rest of the nation. I just tell my dc to answer as best as they can (and am often pleasantly surprised at what the kids have picked up along the way.)

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Thanks for all your responses--my question was unclear, I think. I think I was musing about the efficacy of tests in general (standardized, I mean) to test knowledge. Are there tests out there that people feel DO adequately test your child's knowledge?

Generally, I do not think standardized tests are very helpful for homeschoolers. When you are homeschooling your child you work so closely with them throughout the school year that there is not much that a standardized test can tell you that you did not already know. When they are older and work more independently then they may become more helpful.

 

There is one test I used with my older children several years ago that I found to be helpful. Along with the test results it gave a few suggestions of ways to help them academically.

 

Here's a link to it.

http://www.hewitthomeschooling.com/test/tmain.asp

 

It's the PASS test. Personalized Achievement Summary System

for Grades 3 through 8

It's the only standardized test I have found to be helpful at all.

 

FAQ for the PASS Test

http://www.hewitthomeschooling.com/test/testfaq.asp#Anchor-How-11481

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I think they only show how well you can take a test, they don't really show what a child really knows.

 

My kids love to take them. They think they are funny. Not exactly the sort of reaction I would expect, but they're my weird kids. ;)

 

I think they serve a value in that your kids are exposed to trying to figure out how to answer oddly worded questions. Face it, even on the younger tests, there are some questions that you aren't quite sure which is the right answer...as it is wonky.

 

As a homeschooler, and able to choose our science/history etc. cycle... it can be worthless in many areas. I didn't expect any questions about the Renaissance on a 3rd grade test. Also, my horrid speller can practically ace the spelling section, so what does that mean? I know his spelling is awful, but according to the test....

 

So, they are interesting. Curiosities. Not anything to worry about. I think it is a shame that schools need to teach to it to them, as I think if they spent more time really teaching, the kids would do better on the tests as they would actually know more.

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We test....

 

...on the theory that every standardized test prepares you a little bit for the next one. We hope and anticipate that our children will attend college, and we believe that performing well on standardized tests will increase their college opportunities as well as their opportunities for any further studies in which they might have an interest.

 

...so that my husband, who is pretty uninvolved in the day-to-day business of homeschooling, will have an annual "progress report". He sees that the children are at or above grade level in everything, and he is happy enough to keep signing the checks and leave me to worry about the details. (This is definitely not a slam, btw. He supports me absolutely, encourages me when I need it, and acts as the "principal" when one of the kids needs extra discipline for something school related. But it works for both of us for me to be in charge of the day-to-day aspects of homeschooling.)

 

...so that when people ask, "Do you test?" - which, of course, is code for, "Are you sure they're actually learning anything?" - I can say "yes" and move the conversation in another direction. I know I could use that as a soapbox opportunity, but I'm not really wired that way, especially with well-intentioned friends.

 

Originally, I thought that I'd get a lot of information from the tests - that it would show me weaknesses and I could make adjustments accordingly. Usually, however, the tests show me exactly what I already knew from teaching these children day in and day out. One exception was the year they both scored rather low (in comparison to their other LA areas) on the Language Mechanics section of the test. I added Daily Grams to the schedule for the next two years, and the scores in that area shot up gratifyingly. So I do use the tests a little, in that if I notice something that seems out of step with the rest of their abilities, I try to address that area more directly in the next year. I don't, however, do lots of "test prep" or "teach to the test" - not that I'd even know how to do that if I wanted to. It's just a couple of days of testing (which my kids kind of enjoy, for some weird reason) and then it's back to our regularly scheduled homeschool.

 

SBP

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We've opted not to test. My son had some reading delays (possibly dyslexic) that made him test phobic. We are not required to test and, for us, I see little value in yearly testing.

 

He was in private school for K and even then the standardized test they took only told me what I already knew, he didn't read well but he aced the math portion.

 

I've used test practice books in the past to teach the skill of testing. We'll probably do something informal this year to replicate a testing environment. However, it won't be to gauge his learning. I use other markers throughout the year to determine his progress.

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I find them very strange also. My oldest was in public school last yr and of course 90% of the yr was devoted to pretesting for the FCAT. Every week I would get a pretest booklet sent home with oddly specific questions. The questions in the reading section my dd got counted off for me and my hubby felt could also be a possible answer to the question. So after several booklets sent home with 1/4 of the questions marked wrong I went in for a conference. There her teacher agreed that the answers my daughter provided were possible answers but not the answer they wanted. HUH??? It seems my daughter put too much thought into the question thus getting a different conclusion than the test wanted. I just don't understand how or why they would have questions that have multiple answers when any thought is applied...thus making it wrong...

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I also really like the PASS test. I hear people say they know how their kids will test, but honestly I was shocked at my son's results. Since I have never tested my daughter before, I really don't have any clue how she will do this year. I don't know if she is average, ahead or behind!

 

The first time I gave my son a Spectrum test workbook in second grade, it did change how I teach. I used to be very anti worksheet, but I realized that there is a lot of critical thinking that goes into filling out a work sheet and answering questions with information you know, but is in a different format. My son had only seen math presented in the MUS format and was totally unable to answer the questions. After practicing a few different workbooks, below his level, it really helped him to be able to use the knowledge he learned in different areas.

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Some tests are better written than others so, as some people pointed out, it may be worth it to find a different test if you want to get something out of it.

 

We don't test and don't plan to any time in the near future, though I would reconsider that if I saw issues emerge in my kids and I'm sure that when they get to high school, we'll start talking more about test taking in preparation for possible college. When I was teaching, having quality testing done on a student was always extremely valuable in helping that kid and his or her family so I think it can serve a purpose. I also think that in schools it can turn your kid into a mere statistic, but if homeschool families (or small schools like the one where I worked) understand that it's just one measure of a kid - not the ONLY measure of a kid - then I think it can be very valuable.

 

One thing that I think makes me shy away from it, especially for the early grades, is that it encourages you to compare where your kid is to everyone else's kid. If that's what you want, that's fine. But I feel there's such a wide range of where a kid can be in the early grades - and it's far more important that the child progress than that he get ahead of his peers, KWIM? I also think the scores can play with your mind. If your kid scores 60%, then that *sounds* bad, but it's average. And then if your kid scores 60% again the next year, it makes it *sound* like she's made no progress when in reality she made about the same amount of progress as her peers. I know that understanding statistics can overcome that downer feeling, but I think it can still make you feel like you're failing, when you're totally not. Or it can make you feel like your kid is "average" and that's somehow negative, when the test is actually taking a measure of specific things, not your whole kid.

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Thanks for all your responses--my question was unclear, I think. I think I was musing about the efficacy of tests in general (standardized, I mean) to test knowledge. Are there tests out there that people feel DO adequately test your child's knowledge?

 

IMO the only test that would adequately test your child's knowledge is one you create based on what you have taught them. Even this will be a bit subjective. So much goes into testing... is the child feeling well? Is the environment distracting? Were the questions worded in a way the child understood what the tester was looking for? If it's multiple choice, did the child really know, or did he/she guess?

 

I know this is nitpicky, but really.... I think testing is a tricky thing. It's a snapshot only of how a particular child did at that time on a particular test. I don't think it's indicative of what a child does or doesn't know.

 

Take for instance... my child might miss a question about a Spanish explorer on a test. However, when we have a discussion about it later and I jog something in his memory about this explorer it all comes flooding back to him and he remember easily now, something he couldn't remember at the time for the test. Does that mean he doesn't know it? No, it just means that on that test he couldn't provide the answer the test was looking for, when in actuality he had a whole storehouse of knowledge that wasn't released on the test because the "right" question or format wasn't used. (How often did this happen to you in school and you wish you had been able to share what you could come up with later!!) Or... your child has test anxiety (like I do) and freezes at tests. So much knowledge is in that head, but won't budge. Or, you remember things by talking to yourself out loud, but in a test situation you can't do that.....

 

Again, I know that in our society we've deemed tests "necessary" to prove how much one does or doesn't know, so they are a necessary evil. However, are they the *best* way to assess knowledge. IMO... nope, not even close.

Edited by robsiew
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I used to work for a place that developed standardized tests. In my opinion, they are only good as practice for taking the SAT/ACT. Seeing how standardized tests are developed has led me to believe that standardized tests only measure how well you can take the standardized test, nothing more.

 

Tara

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I'm glad to read this. I agree with you. We are required to test in NY so I think I will give the PASS a go when the time comes.

 

 

Thank you. I was leaning towards ITBS but will take a look at this test. I don't need anything overly difficult--just want to something that will reveal information to me that I don't already know.

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I used to work for a place that developed standardized tests. In my opinion, they are only good as practice for taking the SAT/ACT. Seeing how standardized tests are developed has led me to believe that standardized tests only measure how well you can take the standardized test, nothing more.

 

Tara

 

I think you're probably right, Tara. I do want my kids to see these tests as just another thing to learn, so that's why we'll take them on occasion. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling my son that the FCAT third grade test wouldn't be hard for him, so when he got one wrong he had a meltdown and said he was "so stupid". Bad mommy moment. :(

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I used to work for a place that developed standardized tests. In my opinion, they are only good as practice for taking the SAT/ACT. Seeing how standardized tests are developed has led me to believe that standardized tests only measure how well you can take the standardized test, nothing more.

 

Tara

 

 

I agree and I come from a family of good testers! My 15yo and I were talking about this the other day, trying to decide why it was we (or my boys or our other siblings) can be handed a standardized test and a bubble form and do really well.

 

It for sure doesn't have anything to do with how well we will do in colleges- this discussion started because of ACT and SAT. Let me tell you I passed those in flying colors, but I am terrible at college. I am really not a jump through the hoops kind of person and have no paitence with things that are wasting my time (maybe that is why I homeschool :D).

 

So what is it? Why are we so good at picking the correct answer? I don't know but I think it comes down a lot more to being able to naturally understand what they are looking for in a question then to have any skill at the subject being questioned. I also think there is some competiveness and real desire to be the winner involved too. I don't think either of those things are really taught.

 

We do have to test through the state in 3rd through 9th grades. I don't really mind, I think practice taking tests is a good thing, and having our good scores to show off makes defending our homeschool easier. But I doubt I would take the time to do it myself if a letter didn't show up every spring telling me to take my kids to the testing center.

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DS (11) took them in public school for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. He was never particularly nervous about them and always performed well. My feeling was that the testing is done more to see how the *teachers* are doing than the kids themselves.

 

In our state, the only scores they take seriously are the reading, writing and math. It is freely admitted that each district, even each school in the district is on their own schedule for history and science.

 

I do hope ds will go to college, so even if I don't feel that the state testing doesn't give an accurate snapshot of his learning, the testing practice is good.

 

We'll see how I feel if ds *doesn't* pass something this year though.

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I used to work for a place that developed standardized tests. In my opinion, they are only good as practice for taking the SAT/ACT. Seeing how standardized tests are developed has led me to believe that standardized tests only measure how well you can take the standardized test, nothing more.

It's the only time I've ever interrupted a job interview in the middle to let them know I really didn't want the job after all. They were really invested in their process, and the more they talked about it the nuttier it sounded.

 

I don't put a lot of stock in standardized tests in general (vs. curriculum-specific placement tests, and just knowing how your days generally go), but state-specific tests, in my experience, are worse than the ones used nationally (ITBS, etc.) I like the ACT and SAT better, and ACT's Explore isn't half bad (8th grade level of the ACT).

 

For a pretty good snapshot look at an elementary aged kid, I really like the Woodcock Johnson, but you have to have it administered professionally, and in some parts of the country that's not cheap.

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Thanks for all your responses--my question was unclear, I think. I think I was musing about the efficacy of tests in general (standardized, I mean) to test knowledge. Are there tests out there that people feel DO adequately test your child's knowledge?

 

 

No, but my kids tend to be dyslexic, so on top of other issues you have testing freezing and recall issues. They also tend to be very sequential, so they really don't do well on any problems set up where you have to find the BEST answer. My 3rd dd actually scored higher on the inferred comprehension of her 3rd grade CAT 5 than the factual comprehension, and I am sure this is why. She picked a possible answer not the best answer. She also bombed the punctuation portion despite the fact she writes a sentence a day from dictation and rarely punctuates anything wrong, even with quotes. She just isn't a great editor, and doesn't see it in print form, especially when she is looking at multiple possibilities-it overwhelms her.

 

All my kids also score higher on the conceptual side of math than the computation side. :001_huh: It is amusing.

 

If our state didn't require it I wouldn't do it.

 

Heather

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I think I was musing about the efficacy of tests in general (standardized, I mean) to test knowledge. Are there tests out there that people feel DO adequately test your child's knowledge?

 

No test can do that because it's such a small area that's being tested.

 

I DO believe in having dc take standardized tests starting in grade 6 or 7 up because they will NEED to learn how to take timed tests to compete with others for entrance to gov't job, undergrad., grad. school, etc.

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Their value for us is that it meets a state testing requirement. Score wise, they will occasionally show where ds has a relatively weaker area, but honestly, he tops out the ranking in almost all categories, so they aren't very informative.

 

We are thinking of changing to the ACT this year.

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I don't think it's necessary for an 8yo to be tested so that he'll be prepared for testing when he's 13. I think testing can wait until...13.

 

 

Interesting. I thought earlier, gentler exposure might help him just see the tests as another part of life, nothing more or less.

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we have opted out of testing our kids from now on. I will prepare them for the college entrance tests when the time comes, the annual standardized tests show nothing of what my kids are learning--they only show how much of the state standard they know, so why bother?

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Interesting. I thought earlier, gentler exposure might help him just see the tests as another part of life, nothing more or less.

Well, really, testing isn't another part of life. It might be part of *school,* but it isn't part of *life.*

 

You could think of testing at an older age as being part of more advanced levels of school. Younger dc can be learning and solidifying their skills so that they're actually ready for testing when they're older.

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Well, really, testing isn't another part of life. It might be part of *school,* but it isn't part of *life.*

 

.

True. But he will be in school for the next 14 years of his life, at least, so....nonetheless, I see your point. I read somewhere that in other countries, children are given frequent but low stress exposure to standardized testing early in life, so that tests simply don't faze them as they get older.

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What Loewen says in Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History is rather interesting. As (I think) he points out, if women graduate from college at higher rates than men, then why is it that the tests that supposedly predict academic success have men get higher scores?

 

I know this one! Because intelligence and material learned are very different than getting good grades and graduating. I am reading through piles of research on the gender math gap at high levels of intelligence for my Educational Psychology class. Girls get better grades in math and enroll at an equal rate, but their actual skills are lower. Girls are good at "school."

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True. But he will be in school for the next 14 years of his life, at least, so....nonetheless, I see your point. I read somewhere that in other countries, children are given frequent but low stress exposure to standardized testing early in life, so that tests simply don't faze them as they get older.

 

 

This is how I feel as well.

 

I also find it interesting because I have read posts where people forget to teach their kids something like the months of the year, and don't even realize it until their child is older and doesn't know them. Not that there is anything wrong with having gaps, even the school has them, but I would think that the tests at least point some of them out. I am not worried about the things I see my kids do, or the curriculum we follow, I am interested in the things that I didn't think about, and then when I see the gaps, I can decide if they are important to us.

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How is a standardized test going to tell you if you need to teach the names of the months? Or any other specifics you might have missed?

 

Sure they might tell you over all if you are teaching math or english "okay", but they aren't designed to help you teach better.

 

If you really wanted to spend time figuring out specific you might have missed there are much better ways to do that than a standardized test.

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What purpose do these serve in your opinion? For me, I think it's good for my kids to get some exposure in preparation for the later years. But other than that, I don't know. This afternoon, my son completed a prior year FCAT Mathematics for 3rd grade and did well, but the questions were so...I don't know...weirdly specific? random? seemingly not about important skills? I wonder whether it's just this test, or whether all the tests are like that. (We have taken no other tests).

 

I thought it would show me "gaps" in his knowledge, but instead, it made me feel like...well, that's not a great question anyway :tongue_smilie:

 

Would love others' opinions.

 

Since you are asking for opinions, I will freely give mine.

 

We do state standardized testing each year because I know life is full of tests. Think driver's license, contractor's license, the BAR exam, the list goes on. Knowing how to take a test is as important as knowing what is on the test.

 

I am always a bit miffed at the state tests, particularly the written portion of the test since evaluation of this section is subjective and the prompts are weird. Even on the multiple choice portion of an exam, the wording can be misleading. Yet, each year when the results come to me in the mail I find a consistent pattern over the years, places where our schooling could be shored up. The test scores usually confirm what I always know; we need to work on reading comprehension or vocabulary or something. These test do show gaps, but in the scope of things, I place little emphasis on the results unless they show that we are way off the mark.

 

One year my DD used Study Island in preparation for the state test. That year she almost got a perfect score. According to DD the questions at Study Island were closer to the real questions on the state test than the sample questions provided by the state from tests previous years.

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Interesting. I thought earlier, gentler exposure might help him just see the tests as another part of life, nothing more or less.

 

I wish I'd been tested yearly. I think we had a test in 3rd grade and again in 8th grade. I didn't see the results of either. The next thing I knew it was PSAT/SAT time, and I had anxiety about it. Never signed up. The first significant standardized testing I took was a GRE after college. Not taking the SAT or ACT put limitations on where I could go to school.

 

I test yearly to make it a normal part of the year for BOTH of us. I don't want to assume my son will be unlike me. How can one look at an 8 year old and know they will be confident, test-savvy 13 year olds? I can't.

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I DO believe in having dc take standardized tests starting in grade 6 or 7 up because they will NEED to learn how to take timed tests to compete with others for entrance to gov't job, undergrad., grad. school, etc.

 

i've never really understood this line of thinking... taking a test isn't exactly rocket science (unless you're applying at NASA :p ) and it seems a bit like the whole "how are they gonna learn how to get up on time for work" and "how are they gonna know how to stand in a line" sorta stuff that gets tossed at homeschoolers....

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How is a standardized test going to tell you if you need to teach the names of the months? Or any other specifics you might have missed?

 

Sure they might tell you over all if you are teaching math or english "okay", but they aren't designed to help you teach better.

 

If you really wanted to spend time figuring out specific you might have missed there are much better ways to do that than a standardized test.

 

 

I give the test, so I know when there are questions, or sections that we haven't covered. Then I can decide whether we just haven't gotten to it yet, it isn't important, or it is a legitimate gap that I want to make sure they know at some point. I guess you can get that info from other sources, but there are just so many different sources and at least when I read them, I am taking in a lot of different subjects at one time. The tests break it down into actual areas that I might not have thought about. I like having something to measure against.

Edited by In2why
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i've never really understood this line of thinking... taking a test isn't exactly rocket science (unless you're applying at NASA :p ) and it seems a bit like the whole "how are they gonna learn how to get up on time for work" and "how are they gonna know how to stand in a line" sorta stuff that gets tossed at homeschoolers....

 

There's quite a bit of logic to taking a test and if a person hasn't thought that through, they can get a lower score than they should. For example...a perfectionist might get stuck on one tough question early on in the test. An experienced test taker knows to skip it and come back to it if you have time.

 

There are certain patterns of wording to watch out for (this is especially difficult for kids with mild dyslexia, who wouldn't receive accommodations and easily miss some of these words), like "not," "only," "all," etc...

 

Some people get test anxiety. An experienced test-taker has time to learn how to deal with that before sitting down to take the SAT's for the first time.

 

Some kids may not need any practice at all. For others it can be very helpful and can mean the difference between getting an accurate score and bombing the test.

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I give the test, so I know when there are questions, or sections that we haven't covered. Then I can decide whether we just haven't gotten to it yet, it isn't important, or it is a legitimate gap that I want to make sure they know at some point. I guess you can get that info from other sources, but there are just so many different sources and at least when I read them, I am taking in a lot of different subjects at one time. The tests break it down into actual areas that I might not have thought about. I like having something to measure against.

 

 

Oh that makes more sense, since our tests have all been done at the state testing site and just scores mailed to me!

 

But I still think for the time that I would spend researching a test, buying it, giving it, and scoring it; it would be just as easy for me to pull up some scope and sequences or read something like a core knowledge book if I were worried about gaps : ) Especially since those are designed to be a list of basic skills and standardized tests aren't meant to touch on every topic needed.

Edited by Mallory
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I read somewhere that in other countries, children are given frequent but low stress exposure to standardized testing early in life, so that tests simply don't faze them as they get older.

Oh, you get major points for using "faze" instead of "phase"! :lol:

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i've never really understood this line of thinking... taking a test isn't exactly rocket science (unless you're applying at NASA :p ) and it seems a bit like the whole "how are they gonna learn how to get up on time for work" and "how are they gonna know how to stand in a line" sorta stuff that gets tossed at homeschoolers....

 

I think that standardized testing does involve a set of skills. I think they are fairly specific and not necessarily applicable to many other things, and in my opinion fairly useless, but since the ACT and SAT tests are important, I want my kids to feel comfortable when they have to take those tests.

 

Tara

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've never really understood this line of thinking... taking a test isn't exactly rocket science (unless you're applying at NASA :p ) and it seems a bit like the whole "how are they gonna learn how to get up on time for work" and "how are they gonna know how to stand in a line" sorta stuff that gets tossed at homeschoolers....

 

There's quite a bit of logic to taking a test and if a person hasn't thought that through, they can get a lower score than they should. For example...a perfectionist might get stuck on one tough question early on in the test. An experienced test taker knows to skip it and come back to it if you have time.

 

There are certain patterns of wording to watch out for (this is especially difficult for kids with mild dyslexia, who wouldn't receive accommodations and easily miss some of these words), like "not," "only," "all," etc...

 

Some people get test anxiety. An experienced test-taker has time to learn how to deal with that before sitting down to take the SAT's for the first time.

 

Some kids may not need any practice at all. For others it can be very helpful and can mean the difference between getting an accurate score and bombing the test.

 

i guess i never really thought about some of that ~ although certainly i can see difficulties for children/adults with learning disabilities...but for the average person without any 'issues' ... i wouldn't think there'd be that much to it.

 

then again, i was the weird kid in school who actually got excited when the teacher announced a pop quiz. :tongue_smilie:

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I think that standardized testing does involve a set of skills. I think they are fairly specific and not necessarily applicable to many other things, and in my opinion fairly useless, but since the ACT and SAT tests are important, I want my kids to feel comfortable when they have to take those tests.

 

Tara

 

i don't actually know what either of those tests are (aside from that they get mentioned here a lot and have something to do with college applications?) and only a vague idea of what a 'standardized' test is - i think i remember doing something like that back in elementary school (it was a special day where we just wrote a bunch of fill-in-the-bubble tests and my parents kept a newspaper clipping that came out about it later) .......so i'm gonna ask: what makes "standardized testing" so different than regular tests?

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so i'm gonna ask: what makes "standardized testing" so different than regular tests?

 

When I worked at the place that developed standardized tests, we were given specific guidelines on exactly which minutiae of information were to be covered and in exactly which format. We were trained in how to write misleading questions, and we were instructed to write questions in which there were a variety of possibly correct answers, depending on how the questions were interpreted. Unlike a regular test, where (to me) the answers are rather straightforward, standardized tests (in my opinion) are created to test how well the child can take the test, not just how well the child knows the material.

 

That's just my experience creating test material; someone else may have a completely different opinion/experience.

 

Oh, and the ACT and SAT are tests that kids have to take to get into most colleges; SAT or ACT scores are submitted along with your transcript, and many schools have guidelines regarding how how your score must be to be considered for admission.

 

Tara

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i don't actually know what either of those tests are (aside from that they get mentioned here a lot and have something to do with college applications?) and only a vague idea of what a 'standardized' test is - i think i remember doing something like that back in elementary school (it was a special day where we just wrote a bunch of fill-in-the-bubble tests and my parents kept a newspaper clipping that came out about it later) .......so i'm gonna ask: what makes "standardized testing" so different than regular tests?

 

Standardized tests compare children across age brackets and rank them accordingly using a statistical model.

 

Students who learn how to take tests do better than most who never learn. But is that useful? If you want to get into a certain college or graduate school, yes. In real life, no.

 

I'm an excellent test taker so it got me where I wanted to go to school, but after that test taking is really a worthless skill.

 

We don't take tests except for our biannual requirement - however we will practice for the SATs if we choose to take them.

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