Standardized tests are given around the world, but do they really work? In the state of Texas, standardized testing is an excellent way to be certain that a student is ready to advance to the next educational level. Here is an explanation of why these tests work, how often the tests are given and at what grade levels. Also being discussed are penalties for being absent, preparation suggestions, and how these tests represent a students’ ability in a classroom environment.
A standardized test is scored in a standard manner and is designed to where questions, scoring and other procedures are consistent. This consistency makes them valuable when it comes to evaluating whether or not a student should advance to the next level or grade. In Texas, the test is called “Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills”, otherwise known as the TAKS test. Teachers know what needs to be taught, although not the exact questions, so that their students have a fair chance at having a passing score. The questions are scored and developed by the “Pearson Educational Measurement” and the “Texas Education Agency”.
The test consists of several subjects, including: reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, depending on at what educational level a child is being tested for starting as early as grade 3. When in the 11th grade and a student passes all subjects, they are not required to test again. Most of the tests use multiple choice questions, except for the writing portion, which asks the students to write an essay based on a question or idea given to them, for example: “Write a short essay on whether or not you think cell phone use, while driving, should be against the law.” For earlier grades, the idea may be simpler, for example: “Write a short essay explaining how to get ready for school in the morning” Overall the students are tested on grammar, punctuation, organization, fluency, and how on topic their essay is. On multiple choice questions there is only on right answer. Students at exit level must pass in order to graduate.
The process usually persists of teachers preparing their students throughout the school year and preparing them for the real test. In most cases teachers give their students practice tests in the middle and end of the school year using past tests, to make sure their students are ready for the actual exam. To prepare for the test at home, parents should make sure students are completing all homework because at home studies are as important as in class work. The day of the test, it is suggested that your child have a good healthy breakfast and enough sleep to ensure their mind has enough energy to work at its’ best. Students are to keep quiet while testing, which includes, no talking! Students must raise their hands for questions and take short breaks so that they are able to concentrate properly. If a student is absent, the tests are given early enough in the school year so that the student is able to make up the test another day.
Tests are sometimes changed and altered with an advance warning to students and teachers, so that the students can be fairly prepared. When changes do occur, the tests are usually tested before the actual change to make sure the students are able to comprehend the changes. A change will not occur until the proper authorities come to an agreement about the new standardized test.
Overall, the standardized test really does work when it comes to testing students’ knowledge and academic skill to make sure they are ready for the real world and college ahead of them. Standardized testing allows the education system to measure and control what is being taught and how well students are learning. Without them, student would advance without being ready, which could cause many problems and students who are not ready to advance could become frustrated at the next level.
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, www.en.wikipwdia.org