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