The benefits of testing Fernie

The advertisement placed by the Fernie District Teachers Association prompted me to do some research about standardized testing in public schools. Parents should assess the pros and cons of this kind of test before deciding whether or not their child should participate.

The advertisement placed by the Fernie District Teachers Association prompted me to do some research about standardized testing in public schools. Parents should assess the pros and cons of this kind of test before deciding whether or not their child should participate.

This type of testing is important for a variety of reasons: 1) it allows parents to see how their child is doing in the classroom, in an objective light, compared to others in their class; 2) standardized testing allows students progress to be tracked over the years.

When students take the same type of test every few years, we can see if a student is improving, losing ground academically, or staying about the same.

Since all students in a grade are taking the same test, standardized tests provide an accurate comparison across groups. (For example, this makes it easy to see how boys are performing as compared to girls in a particular school or district.) Great improvements have been made with regards to test bias, leading to more accurate assessments and comparisons.

Also, we can discern how our schools are doing performance-wise when compared to other schools in our area and across the country. This should not be something that the teachers association is afraid of. Let’s say the schools did not fare well in these exams.

This could be an opportunity to work on certain programs in the school or perhaps prompt a review of faculty. A poor ranking for a school could be looked at as an opportunity rather than something that is shameful.

This type of assessment loses potency when the exams become a way for schools to compete, rather than appraise. This is where we run into problems. When schools set aside regular curriculum to “teach to the test” that’s where teachers and children become stressed. Perhaps if the school faculty refocused on the true reason for these exams, there would be less of this pressure. I ask all schools to raise your academic levels because you want to inspire your community, not just to beat the next guy.

Additional benefits of standardized testing are: 1) They report on students’ progress, 2) They help to diagnose students’ strengths and weaknesses, 3) They help to place students in special programs, 4) They certify student achievement (i.e. promoting students from grade to grade).

Standardized tests have been called “biased”, “unfair”, “uncreative” and other but really they are a part of the modern academic experience and I feel children should get used to the rigors of this type of testing. Each year in grade 10 on, kids are asked to take standardized tests in a variety of subjects, so standardized tests are indeed used to rank students and determine part of their future. Perhaps if they are familiar with this style of test at this point, it won’t be as intimidating. In order to prepare students for these exams, they review with their teachers. Part of the preparation for standardized testing may give teachers guidance to help them determine what to teach students and when to teach it. The result could be less wasted instructional time and a simplified way of timeline management.

I think the key to the success of the standardized tests is balance. Those in charge need to step back and take into account both the good and the bad things about testing and find a way to help students succeed without causing them too much stress.

For better or worse, standardized testing is here to stay. I believe the key is to use the test results as a guide for teachers, parents, and students. They should also be used, in a limited capacity, to assess how well schools are doing. Standardized testing should be used to help measure a school’s success, but it should be one assessment among several that determines whether a school’s students are progressing or not.

I have a lot of respect for the public and independent school systems in Fernie and I think Fernie Secondary is a great place for kids to learn, strive and achieve whatever they wish to pursue. I think an ad like the one that was placed in the paper by the Fernie District Teachers Association sends the wrong message to the community. It strikes a tone that IDES and FSS aren’t up to the challenge of standardized testing. I think they are!

Francesca ter Poorten

Just Posted

Fires highlight need for more volunteers

Short-staffed volunteer fire departments in Elk Valley, South Country rely on mutual aid

Motorcyclist grateful to be alive, thanks fellow drivers

Over a dozen people stopped to assist Lori Hann after she tumbled off her bike on Hwy 3, Saturday

Local athletes ready for BC Summer Games

Twenty-four athletes from the Elk Valley and South Country will compete at the 2018 BC Summer Games.

GearHub staff staying positive after fire

Sporting goods store to fully reopen by end of July

UPDATE: New lead narrows the search for Serval cat

UPDATE, July 17: A new lead has narrowed the search for Aquila… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

The Free Press editor wins awards

Editor Phil McLachlan has been recognized at the 2018 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards.

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

Most Read