A Revolutionary Standardized Test?
A new test that will see if fourth graders will be ready for college? Wow! Great! Amazing!
That’s the promise I’m seeing as our former standardized test is being replaced by a new version this year. This, of course, is causing great trepidation and worry from pretty much everyone in the state, myself included. So much rides on state tests that you simply can’t ignore them.
What I find amusing is the concept that a standardized test will indicate whether or not a student is on a path towards being college and career ready. Is this actually possible? I’m doubtful. While I’m more than a decade removed from college, and I’m sure it’s changed a lot, these were the skills I remember being important to being successful in university classes:
– Responsibility – You had to read the assigned reading, despite all the distractions available. Sometimes you just had to shut out the outside world and read that book.
– Teamwork – The group project required communication among team members, and everyone had to do their part.
– Active Listening – If you were at a lecture with 300 other students, nobody was checking to see if you were listening. You had to do this on your own.
– Perseverance – Some weeks were crazy. You might have had four major assignments due on the same day. This overloaded feeling could either make you shut down or become more determined.
– Communication – Whether it was with professors, teaching assistants, or other students, you had to be able to communicate your questions, concerns, thoughts, and feelings.
These make students college and career ready – responsibility, teamwork, active listening, perseverance, communication, and many other I’m sure I’m leaving out. A standardized test measures none of these. I understand the function a standardized test serves, but let’s make sure we’re being real about what a standardized test is actually measuring.