Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why Standardized Testing Doesn’t Work for My Kid

The other day, my daughter came home from school and as usual we started in on her math homework. They are starting to learn fractions in her 1st grade class. The first question on the worksheet asked her to take two candy bars that were drawn on the paper and divide each into ½. Now, one of the candy bars was much larger than the other. After she had divided the candy bars into two, the next part of the problem asked which half of candy bar she would rather have. Knowing that she is my daughter, she, of course, picked ½ of the smaller candy bar. I asked her why she picked that half? She said that if she picked the smaller half then she wouldn’t get sick from eating all that candy.

Do you think on standardized testing they have a space for her to explain her choice for eating healthy on a math question?


josed said...

Well, first off, Mrs. Smith, congratulations on having such a smart kid. That logic wouldn't have gone through my skull for a second when I was a kid.

Secondly, I've had moments in which my logic and that of the test-takers or question-askers is different. This happens to me a lot in those standardized reading/writing tests when they ask multiple choice questions about the theme of those prompts they always have. By now, I can interpret questions half a million ways without trying (thanks to awesome teachers like you), plus I have my own way of thinking in , and so I can really relate to your daughter. I think that on occasion, when asking this question, they do ask why. But not often. I don't know what you should do other than bring it to the attention of other educators.

Janelle Jalbert said...

Standardized tests are now used for things they were never originally intended for such as trying to foretell success in college. It's a purely monetary decision that has caused a new industry to flourish for taxpayer dollars. At least, at the college level, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction with upcoming phase outs of various standardized test requirements for college admissions.

Janelle Jalbert is the founder of Edusistance, a company assisting in education and business. Currently, Janelle is heading the “Race to College Success” program to assist students with a variety of college issues including: college preparation, college admissions, general education concerns such as SAT, ACT, and other test prep, college options, college majors, financial aid, scholarships, career planning, portfolio and resume development, essay writing, and such. Visit for details. You can also follow Janelle and Race to College Success on Twitter (RacetoCollege) Facebook (RacetoCollegeSuccess), and MySpace (Race to College Success).

Gary said...

Don't let your kids take standardized tests.