Standardized testing has been a point of discussion in the education industry for decades. The teachers are trying to understand its benefits and challenges to make improvements in their teaching techniques and content.
The test designers claim that the concept of standardized testing revolves around fairness and accuracy. These tests intend to measure the progress of students and the effectiveness of a particular curriculum. Despite improvements in academic achievement, standardized testing is still the most used option.
What is standardized testing?
Standardized testing is one of the oldest assessment methods to evaluate students’ progress. Subject-matter experts design these tests. They come with a standard set of instructions for administering them.
Many students take these standardized tests in similar conditions. The questions and scoring are consistent across every evaluated group. Question formats in these tests consist of multiple-choice and true or false questions for easy and automated scoring. These tests are part of standard curriculums to ensure that students meet the minimum learning standards.
The teachers should have a good understanding of the scoring methodology of these standardized tests because they have to design curriculums.
Moreover, the students and parents might also connect with teachers regarding their doubts about these tests. Thus, the teachers must read the test manual to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of tests. Most of these tests report the scores as percentiles.
For example, an 80% percentile score indicates that 80% of the population performed below par in the student population. These tests generally measure knowledge in specific subjects like Math, English, Science, etc.
Some standardized tests are designed to assess aptitudes, IQ, or personality traits based on requirements.
Standardized testing has a lot of benefits for students and teachers as long as the tests are taken in the right spirit.
Let’s discuss some benefits of standardized assessments in detail.
1.Measure the Quality of Learning
The tests help assess a student’s learning quotient. The teachers can use these scores to identify students’ weak areas for improvement.
Moreover, the institutes can also compare the test results with the scores of other schools or colleges. It helps them in evaluating the quality of their curriculum.
If a teacher is taking independent classes, they too can use their student’s test performance as a metric to improve their course material. The coaching material gets updated to strengthen students’ weak areas in subjects.
2. Excellent career options ahead
Most standardized test scores are part of the eligibility criteria for entering graduate schools and earning scholarships.
It puts a lot of undue stress on students, but unfortunately, these tests are necessary to move ahead in their learning journey.
Getting a good score in these standardized tests puts the students in the front race of getting a good graduate or undergraduate college. Thus, these tests ensure that students remain focused on their learning path.
3. Determine the scope of improvement
All curriculums designed by experts may not be perfect. Some drawbacks and weaknesses are always present in the course structures.
A standardized testing process can help identify these gaps in the course structure or teaching methodologies. The scores in standardized tests have a direct correlation with teaching effectiveness.
Based on these gaps, the teachers or institutes can invest more time and resources to improve these gaps. Most of the time, there is a push by the institute to improve quality based on insights from these tests. A positive change should occur based on insights about improvement areas.
4. Student and institute’s progress
Year-over-year assessment data can be very insightful in identifying the progress a student or an institute has made over time.
An increase in performance scores points towards positive changes made in the curriculum by teachers.
On the other hand, a decrease indicates a fall in the teaching methodology or quality. One of the significant challenges of standardized testing is that it can put unwanted pressure on students. Students can lose focus on their studies if they get bad scores.
Thus, the teachers have to be cautious in handling the test score results.
They can follow some of the below strategies to keep the students on the learning path:
Give continuous feedback to the students
The curriculum designed by teachers should have periodic tests so that students get continuous feedback. Their work gets corrected instantly, and they start building confidence for the final standardized tests.
Open discussion forums
Conducting open sessions for your curriculums gives students the platform to clear their doubts. They get the opportunity to discuss the concepts with their peers and gain clarity on theorems they get stuck in.
Develop a growth mindset in the students
A positive mindset is essential for success and performing with full potential. In a growth mindset, students are aware that their learning abilities will improve through hard work, persistence, and a focused approach.
Therefore, teachers should emphasize a growth mindset in students to set them up for success.
Conduct periodic reviews of the students’ learning
Constant revision and review keep the concepts fresh in students’ minds. Teachers must encourage students to refresh theorems, not to forget essential concepts periodically. The more they practice, the better are their chances of acing the standardized tests.
Make students practice multiple-choice questions
Familiarity with the type of questions they’ll face in the tests is essential to build confidence. Teachers should ensure that students get enough practice with sample questions.
Moreover, they must also teach students guidelines on the best test approach.
These are some ways by which teachers can prepare their students for standardized tests. The whole idea here is to build confidence in students to face the test with their full potential.
As a result, you will see significant improvements in your students’ learning curve, critical for their success.
A standardized test significantly impacts students’ and teachers’ futures. It brings in a lot of emotions, concerns, and opinions among the teacher-student community.
Teachers must be aware of the preparation their students need to ace these tests. Besides, the students must focus on their weak areas and enroll in additional classes if required.