The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do

The Tests Are Too Narrow

  • Standardized tests depend on the idea that a small portion of a student’s behavior fairly represents the whole range of possible behavior. To draw valid inferences from a test, it must cover more than a small part of the content domain. If you have a large number of students, overall outcomes on different versions of a test should even out. But any one student can go from proficient on one version to needing remediation on another. Items are chosen to spread out the scores of the test takers. Time limits spread out scores even more. Life isn’t like a quiz show. As students can only sit and focus for so long, the tests can only deal with a small fraction of the domain. Some topics have to be skipped. Timed tests also produce test anxiety. Beware of timed tests.
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10 Responses to “The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do

  1. Dr. Don says:

    Every educator, administrator, government bureaucrat, and union leader should be required to read this book, and then tested on it in the same manner that our children are tested today. Better yet, this should probably be a seminar topic for required academic continuing education. Chart 14, “New Ideas for Genuine Accountability” brushes the surface and wets our appetite on a new direction and sounds like it could be the basis for Harris, Smith, and Harris’s next book.

  2. The Myths Of Standardized Tests Why They Dont Tell You What You Think They Do…

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  3. [...] Doug Green has an excellent summary of the myths and negative consequences of standardized testingbased on a book on his site: [...]

  4. Archangelo says:

    Standardized tests aren’t really meant to measure student achievement, but to provide an excuse to dump teachers.

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