Understanding standardized testing is very important for beginning teachers as K-12 teaching is increasingly influenced by the administration and results of standardized tests. Teachers also need to be able to help parents and students understand test results. Consider the following scenarios.
• Vanessa, a newly licensed physical education teacher, is applying for a job at a middle school. During the job interview the principal asks how she would incorporate key sixth grade math skills into her PE and health classes as the sixth grade students in the previous year did not attain Adequate Yearly Progress in mathematics.
• Danielle, a first year science teacher in Ohio, is asked by Mr Volderwell, a recent immigrant from Turkey and the parent of a tenth grade son Marius, to help him understand test results.
When Marius first arrived at school he took the Test of Cognitive Skills and scored on the eighty- fifth percentile whereas on the state Science Graduation test he took later in the school year he was classified as "proficient" .
• James, a third year elementary school teacher, attends a class in gifted education over summer as standardized tests from the previous year indicated that while overall his class did well in reading the top 20 per cent of his students did not learn as much as expected.
• Miguel, a 1st grade student, takes two tests in fall and the results indicate that his grade equivalent scores are 3.3 for reading and 3.0 for math. William's parents want him immediately promoted into the second grade arguing that the test results indicate that he already can read and do math at the 3rd grade level. Greg, a first grade teacher explains to William's parents that a grade equivalent score of 3.3 does not mean William can do third grade work.
Understanding standardized testing is difficult as there are numerous terms and concepts to master and recent changes in accountability under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) have increased the complexity of the concepts and issues. In this chapter we focus on the information that beginning teachers need to know and start with some basic concepts.
- 9.3: Understanding Test Results
- In order to understand test results from standardized tests it is important to be familiar with a variety of terms and concepts that are fundamental to "measurement theory", the academic study of measurement and assessment. Two major areas in measurement theory, reliability and validity, were discussed in the previous chapter; in this chapter we focus on concepts and terms associated with test scores.