Engaging in Standardized Testing

Throughout this blog series, I offer what I see as “simple solutions” to the mistakes being made in testing/assessing children in this age of accountability.

There at least 5 mistakes being made in early childhood assessment:

  1. Using the wrong tool for the job
  2. Adopting a narrow view of early development
  3. Misusing terms
  4. Engaging in standardized testing
  5. Neglecting to link key program elements

In this post we will look at the fourth mistake, which is engaging in standardized testing.

One term that is misused the most, or maybe, misguides practice the most is standardized. Somehow, when countries determined educational reform was in order, thriving systems chose personalized learning and the US chose a standardized approach.

My theory is that at the root of the problem is distrust in things we don’t understand and an over-reliance on what we think we are objectively measuring. This perspective has lead us to believe that standardized is better, is more trustworthy, and is the truth! When in fact, we know that truth varies based upon perspective, that opinions always influence findings, that outliers aren’t always a bad thing, and what we should aim for is fidelity and systematic decision making.

Simple Solutions:

  1. Understand the pitfalls of standardized testing, particularly with young children.
  2. Engage in authentic assessment practices where familiar people gather information in familiar settings, using familiar objects, and asking children/adults to do familiar things.
  3. Follow early childhood recommended assessment practices:

While most of us recognize that it is important to be able to evaluate children’s performance in order to determine if a child has a disability and whether instruction or an educational program is effective, most of us also recognize that standardized testing is relied upon far too often and is used and interpreted inappropriately too much. Particularly when we are working with young children and/or planning learning opportunities, standardized testing can do more harm than good in too many instances. What do you think? How can you fight back against the inappropriate use of standardized testing? Share you thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter using #b2kcoach.

More In This Series