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How to Assess a Student, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

It is inappropriate to use a single standardized test score to assess a student for many reasons.  The first of such reasons is that it is a single measure.  The performance of the student on one standardized test only provides one data point.  Without multiple data points, the reliability of this one data point is very low.  To accurately get a measure of a student’s performance, one must give the test multiple times or use multiple different measures to provide a picture of the academic ability of the child.

Many other factors make the use of standardized tests, especially a single measure, problematic.  Baker and Johnston (2010) conducted a study comparing two Florida schools, one a Title I school and the other a non-Title I school.  Comparing the data on a test between the two schools, they found that “close to two-thirds of high SES students pass[ed] while two-thirds of low SES school students d[id] not pass” (Baker and Johnston, 2010, p. 198).  Also, standardized tests only look at basal ability.  In a study by Scot, Callahan, and Urquhart (2009), they found that teachers and students perceive the standards as being the bare minimum needed.  Most students can easily meet and exceed the standards.  Additionally, the value of standardized tests has not been identified.  In a review of the research and commentary, Merchant (2004) notes that many negative effects, such as punitive measures for schools and students, result from standardized testing but no positive effects have been identified.

In all, the use of standardized testing, and especially of a single test, to judge a student’s academic skill and potential is never warranted.

References

Baker, M., & Johnston, P. (2010). The impact of socioeconomic status on high stakes testing reexamined. Journal Of Instructional Psychology, 37(3), 193-199.

Merchant, G. J. (2004). What is at stake with high stakes testing? A discussion of issues and research. Ohio Journal Of Science, 104(2), 2-7.

Scot, T., Callahan, C. M., & Urquhart, J. (2009). Paint-by-Number teachers and cookie-cutter students: The unintended effects of high-stakes testing on the education of gifted students. Roeper Review, 31(1), 40-52. doi:10.1080/02783190802527364

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