This recent Education Week Teacher article, “Survey: Teachers Place Little Value on Standardized Tests” prompts the consideration of the purposes of standardized testing in the United States. A recent report published jointly by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations states that only 28% of educators believe the state-required standardized tests inform or gauge student achievement.
Additionally, survey respondents worried that many students fail to take standardized test seriously and therefore, do not perform as well as they do on quizzes and test administered during classroom instruction.
It’s important to point out, however, that standardized testing can actually be used to inform instruction if those assessments have been linked to The Lexile® Framework for Reading and The Quantile® Framework for Mathematics. When standardized tests are linked to these frameworks student score reports can identify their levels of ability, monitor growth over time, and inform instruction that in a way that allows educators to target student ability levels for both reading and mathematics.
The Lexile framework offers a developmental scale that teachers can use to match text to a student’s reading ability. The Lexile Find a Book site offers an abundance of book titles with Lexile measures so that parents and teachers can match the material appropriate to the student’s interest and reading ability level. The Quantile framework is another developmental scale that teachers can use to match student’s mathematics ability to the difficulty of mathematics topics at the introductory level. These various topics in mathematics can be found at the Quantile website where most major skills and concepts have been aligned to state standards.
If standardized tests are linked to The Lexile Framework for Reading or to The Quantile Framework for Mathematics, the assessment allows educators to differentiate in meaningful ways. If you haven’t already check out these valuable resources, be sure to take a look.