Important Facts About the Testing Program
A reasonable and balanced approach to the measure of student progress and instruction today is one in which tests are regarded as helpful instructional tools. Assessment results should be used by the teacher and the parent as helpful points for study and analysis in the improvement of instruction. The relationships among measures of academic achievement and other characteristics of students are complex and interdependent. This complexity can be seen in the network of relationships between test scores and a variety of other factors. Measured performance is affected by the cumulative effect of instruction as well as by a number of factors such as attendance and stability, motivation for learning, socioeconomic level, parental interest in academic achievement, and levels of verbal communication in the home.
It is important for teachers and parents, as users of test results, to have knowledge of the tests, their appropriate use, and their limitations. Some points to remember.
- In interpreting test results, keep in mind what the test measures.
- Since the tests we use measure achievement in several areas, only a small number of concepts can be measured. The questions everyone would get correct are eliminated from tests.
- Test results should never be viewed as "fixed". Every test score is an approximation of the "true" score.
- Mental ability tests measure developed school learning ability or reasoning skills that are important in the school setting, rather than innate intellectual capacity.
- Low scores should be interpreted with caution. They indicate that the pupil did not score in the average range, but not that he or she cannot do so. High scores are not likely to be obtained by chance and may be regarded as more significant.
- Tests are a work sample of student learning. "Standardized" adds the element of carefully prepared items, standard directions, and standardization of procedures.
- Test results indicate level of performance, but do not answer the question "why".
- Growth and development patterns are different for every student.