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How do I know what a good test looks like?

Posted on November 11, 2014 by dmayer

What does a GOOD test look like? Stand for Children has the answer.

Before reviewing the test, a word about the graphic design. Skimming this web page, it is clear that some designs are more legible than others. That’s true for test, too. Many people  think a computer test is “more standardized,” and therefore more fair than an old-fashioned pencil and paper test. That’s a misconception. Differences in the age of the computer, the brand, speed, monitor size, display, sound, and other tech attributes can make a difference in student performance. Some readers may find this page visually difficult to read and understand, just as some kids will find the test format and instructions difficult to read and understand. And, that doesn’t begin to take into consideration the range of dexterity and computer skills kids bring to the test.

On to the test. From the Stand for Children website:

BETTER TESTS: YOU DECIDE

We are finally moving to higher academic standards for our kids.

With those high standards come better tests that measure critical thinking, replacing bad tests that are just rote memorization.

Pop Quiz: Are the new tests better? Come decide for yourself.

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Questions about the tests.

  • Are the higher academic standards referred to above the Common Core State Standards?
  • What are the names of the old tests and the new tests? Is the old test the OAKS? Is the new test the SBAC?
  • In the first 3rd grade math problem, the new test is measuring area, not perimeter. Drag and drop! Drag and drop! Drag and drop! What is the correct answer to the old test problem? Should the question on the old test have been: What is the area? Was this an actual old test question?
  • In the second 3rd grade math problem as in the first, the student is simply asked to answer more problems at once. Dragging and dropping several answers instead of selecting only one answer. No partial credit?
  • Does the 5th grade Reading/Writing test require kids to do more than drag and drop to answer the question?
  • Does drag and drop now equal critical thinking?

Find out more about opting out of high stakes testing:

United Opt Out

Oregon Save Our Schools

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