Testing Children in school

I have never agreed with testing children because no one test is going to measure the actual child.  I was very dedicated student all through school, I always did extra credit, never turned in late or sloppy assignments.  I was very organized and I loved school but I hated taking tests.  I dreaded that so much so that I usually blew them off.  I would take the test but I didn't believe that staying up all night studying would benefit me in anyway so I didn't.  I went about my usual routine, showed up to take the test and when I was bored I would answer the questions randomly.  The truly sad thing is that I always scored very high and received praise for my work.  Because of my own experiences with testing I was always careful of my own evaluation of children.  It is important for us to measure children using more than paper and pencil.

I would advocate that observation is just as important a testing tool as marking answers on paper.  Observation, projects, essays and group activities measure would, in my opinion, be more helpful in measuring the whole child.  Some of my best tests were written ones where I was allowed to write my own answer rather than multiple choice.

One of my biggest complaints with our schools in Texas is that the teachers teach the test.  The last year my cousin attended public school, 3rd grade, before I began homeschooling him the teacher directly told us during open house that they would not be learning anything new this year because they had so much to do for the TAKS test.  We had asked what we needed to work with him on this year and that was her response.  According to an article on Fairtest.org, "Test content is a very poor basis for determining curriculum content, and teaching methods based on the test are themselves harmful."  The article further states that children in other economically advanced nations score higher that their U.S. counterparts because they do not focus on teaching to the multiple choice tests.  

With all that said, I researched educational assessment in New Zealand.  Their assessment process is a little different in that it is a four step process:  inquiry, decision making, adaptation  transformation.  According to the New Zealand Ministry of Education assessment is a process of learning for learning.  U.S. tests are used to measure students' learning but they don't focus on the whole child and they don't adapt the curriculum for the children's learning.  The New Zealand process allows for assessments from various sources, follow-up, teachers look for ways to adapt the curricula and methods to help students as needed.  


How Standardized Testing Damages Education.  (2007, August 20).  The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.  Retrieved from http://fairtest.org/facts/howharm.htm

Ministry of Education Position Paper: Education. (2010, September 24).  Retrieved from  http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/AssessmentPositionPaperSep2010.pdf


  1. I too had test anxiety. Standardized tests can be very boring, and after a while they become redundant and all the questions look the same. However, I do like the assessments we use in our center. It is paper and pen/pencil, but it is also based on my observations and anecdotal notes.

  2. LaTresa,
    I agree that testing just gives us a snapshot of what a child's actual skills may be. Standardized tests being the most challenging. My children were fortunate to go to a district where if answering a question verbally was easier for you than writing an essay you could take your test that way. I think we need to adapt tests the same way we adapt lessons for each individual child's style.

  3. Hello,

    It sounds like you were a student that did well on tests. You were very lucky to have done well on them by not studying a lot. I was one of those students who had trouble with passing standardized tests regardless of what they were. The funny part of my story is that I received A's and B's on all my assignments, yet fail the test. That was the most horrible feeling ever; especially if the test was the major percentage of my grade. That's why I believe it is so important to assess the whole child not just part of them by glimpses of what he or she can do. We, as educators, need to advocate for children on the importance of building upon one;s knowledge through various means. For instance, informal and formal assessments, and/or portfolio pieces of students work would show more about a child's understanding of content.

  4. Anonymous10/17/2011

    I can say i agree with your opinion on standardized testing. I do not believe that this test serves any purpose and only gives a snap shot of the certain areas of learning. I have sat in many classrooms and wondered how do these children take in any information. There were so many disruptions, children acting out and classrooms without the needed supplies.To my understanding NCLB Act was put in place to measure growth. This is also to assist teachers in meeting 100% proficiency. This is goal is set to be reached by the year 2014 but may not be possible unless everyone is on the same page. Some revision must be done and if the test is going to be useed to measure how children are learning then plans must first be put in place to better prepare our students.

    Latina Johnson