Assessment: Where’s the connection?

High-stakes standardized testing is the norm for school children. But why? Why? Why? Why?

Do any of these phrases sound familiar:

  • differentiate the curriculum!
  • vary your assessments!
  • paper and pencil tests aren’t the only way to go!
  • give students choices!
  • challenge them with creative projects that require critical-thinking skills!
  • some students will never do well on a multiple-choice test!

We are getting the message in our schools and classrooms that paper-and-pencil tests should not be the only form of assessment used. We are constantly asked to vary our assessments, give students choices in terms of projects to demonstrate their learning, etc. And, as teachers, we do all that. We make sure to offer opportunities for student choice. We develop projects with rubrics used to assess student learning. Students show their understanding of a concept through video, animation, song, dance, poetry, oral presentation, posters, and a myriad of other methods. 

The question still remains, then, as to why our country puts so much weight on one set of standardized tests every single year. How does one test demonstrate all our students have learned, achieved, and created over the course of a school year?

One test does not and therein lies the problem.

Thoughts? Please share them in the comments.

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