Testing Issues in Public Schools
Making the Grade
One of the most commonly accepted and yet highly controversial measures of a student's ability to grasp course material is through testing. With the accountability standards of this administrations "No Child Left Behind" education policy, testing has taken an even more prominent role in the education of our children. As parents, we understand that testing is a fundamental part of education. The question is are our children being adequately prepared for testing.
More often than not, children are whisked through course material at break neck speeds to guarantee that all topics have been covered by the end of the term. Many children are left behind because teachers no longer have the luxury of making sure everyone in the class has grasped the material before they are forced to move ahead. Taking that basic fact into consideration, what happens when our children are faced with the additional handicap of being instructed by unqualified, unmotivated, and unprepared teachers?
Who steps in to assist the classroom full of middle school students whose teacher doesn't use proper conversational grammar and are expected to judge whether sentence formation is correct on a test? What about the English major teaching your child Math who would clearly be lost without the answers in the teacher's edition text? What about the apathetic teacher that can't motivate his or her students and couldn't care less? For students facing these types of obstacles in their general instruction we must ask ourselves and our local school boards, ... "Are our children being adequately prepared to be successful when tested?" Unfortunately, for many school age children these situations are commonplace and very typical of the state of education in America. For concerned parents home schooling isn't an alternative to public education. It's what happens when their children get home from a day within our public schools.
These links are chosen to give you some insight into some of the testing programs that are used within public schools, the types of test being administered, and tips on how to help your children be successful in testing. We hope parents find them useful in preparing their children for successful testing experiences.
Testing - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Families and Communities
Helping Your Child with Test-Taking -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School
Iowa Testing Programs:
About the Test
Description of ITBS Test (Primary Levels)
Description of ITBS Test (Grades 3-8)
Assessment and Evaluation
What Should Parents Know About Standardized Testing In Schools?
Knowing the Score on Test
With a Proliferation of Standardized Exams, Educators and Parents Wonder What to Make of the Results
Should you hold your child back?
When Report Cards Don't Make the Grade
PBS Frontline: Testing Our Schools - In Your State
(excerpt) What are the standards and testing policies in your state? How does your state compare to others on the National Assessment of Educational Progress?
Use the map and links on this site for information on standards and testing in all 50 states.
NEW STATE-BY-STATE SURVEY CONCLUDES
MOST ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS NEED MAJOR CHANGES;
STATES JUST "TINKERING AT THE EDGES OF REFORM"
One-third of state public school testing systems need a complete overhaul and another third need major improvements if they are
to provide support for high quality teaching and learning, according to a new study by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).
The FairTest study found a "southern effect," with states in the south having the most testing, making the lease use of perfor-mance assessment, and using high school exit exams.
Most states do not do a good job of including students with special needs or those with limited English proficiency in state assessments by making appropriate accommodations or administering
Teacher training in assessment remains weak in most states; and
Few states do a good job of evaluating the impact of their testing programs on classroom teaching and learning.