Tests used to be just for evaluating students, but now the testing of students is used to evaluate teachers and, in fact, the entire educational system. On an individual level, some students and parents have noticed a change — more standardized tests and more classroom and homework time devoted to preparation for them.
So what exactly do test scores tell us?
Poor test scores are the initial premises in most current arguments for educational reform. At the end of last year, reading scores that showed American 15-year-olds in the middle of an international pack, led by Asian countries, prompted calls from researchers and educators for immediate action. This year two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, showed that 45 percent of students, after two years of college, have made no significant gains on a test of critical thinking. Last week’s report of falling SAT scores is the latest example.