I received an e-mail today asking about standardized tests, and this was my response. I’m interested to hear what others have to say on this matter.
You are asking the right question and here are a few attempts by me to justify the standardized tests:
1. It helps parents know that we are a real school
2. It convinces parents that we are teaching successfully
3. It’s good marketing to tell people how great our kids do on standardized tests
4. Over a long period of time, they can help us identify patterns. This can help us identify things to celebrate and improve.
5. Every now and then a real college will want to know how our students did on them
6. Over a broad range of students (as opposed to time) it gives some possible clues about areas that need to be attended to
7. It’s what’s expected of us
I also believe that standardized tests have done untold damage to education (standardization is itself opposed to much that is necessary in education), but that doesn’t mean we can avoid them.
Finally, I would use the ERB’s instead of the SAT’s.