Standardized testing shouldn’t be the only measure of knowledge

There’s been a lot of debate surrounding how to measure a student’s success in the classroom – standardized testing being the only answer anyone can seem to come up with.

I’d like to quote the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report from its Board on Testing and Assessment.

“…a test score is not an exact measure of a student’s knowledge or skills…no single test score can be considered a definitive measure of a student’s knowledge.”

And yet America continues to view standardized testing as the only determination on how effective a teacher has been in the classroom or how intelligent and advanced a student might be.

I consider myself fairly intelligent, yet I can tell you without fail that I’m a terrible test taker. Anxieties inevitably creep in and before long have derailed my best efforts to score high. We put so much pressure on our youngsters – telling them that the only measure of their success lies in high, standardized testing scores.

While I understand the need for measurement in our schools, we can no longer be naïve enough to believe that the only tool by which we can measure success is standardized tests. Success is a very broad word. To simply judge a student by the answers on a piece of paper is doing them a disservice and shaping their future in a negative direction.

Perhaps our nation should petition the organizations creating standardized tests to think out of the box. Why should we continue to incur high fees for the same old product in an age where big ideas are exploding everywhere? Maybe I’m a cynic, but I can’t help but wonder if someone in the testing organization has a friend in Washington…well, you know where I’m going with this.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar has this to say about “success”.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”