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Throughout school life, our knowledge, skills and attitude all reach a certain spot where they are assessed and evaluated. In some of those instances, we are prepared. We read books, consult our notes even to the point of browsing the net to equip us with what we have and need to know. In turn, we are given the ticket to pass and proceed to the higher level. There are some instances also when we are caught off guard. Whether or not they are given as a surprise or simply we do not prepare, these tests are to be taken to matter what. But while test is a broad term, this page will provide you information on the question: what are the most common standardized tests for K-12 grade levels?
At age 5-6 that we normally enroll our children as kindergarten. During this time, resistance to academics is still common despite going through pre-school because of the lingering separation anxiety that these children have at this crucial period. To assess whether they are ready and prepared for the challenge and other possibilities that lie ahead, readiness tests are given. They are usually given 3-4 months prior to the school year. Maturity is a big issue with this test.
Another test of such nature before graduating from kindergarten is done. This serves more so as a screening tool for parents to know if their child is ready to go one notch up and enter grade 1 which is a more stressful and demanding level than the previous one. At grades 1, 2 and 3, tests with different formats are formulated. The most common being multiple-choice questions - the student in this format is given the chance to choose one best answer among a number of choices. Another one is performance assessment in which answers can take the form of either written or oral response. This contributes to a child's ability to solve problems by giving solutions to them.
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills or, ITBS for short, another standardized test which determines a child's capacity to answer questions from different subject matters such as math and language is given in third to eighth grade. The Iowas are a battery of tests that assess basic skills on a national level. Iowas are seen as one of the more difficult test to administer and as far as skill levels needed by students. Since states determine the school curriculum, some students are simply not prepared for the test. Look at it this way in the current curriculum simple two digit addition is a mastery skill in New York State by second grade. Yet Mastery in North Dakota is not until early fourth grade. This doesn't allow students to be on a level play field.
Students from middle (grades 6-8) and upper (grades 9-12) schools also take such test. Aside from those mentioned, two other standardized tests with the first one known as Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the second one as American College Test (ACT) are also given out to high school students especially those belonging to the 11th grade to determine their over-all knowledge and to assess whether or not they are ready and well-equipped for the collegiate level. However, taking these is optional and depends solely on the preference of the student.
With all these being said, it is also important to know that standardized testing has 2 types. The first type and the most common is what we call as norm-referenced testing which measures student's performance in relation to all the other students who take the same test. So the idea is, if you are student and you get a high score, it goes to show that you are good and well-informed depending of course on your score. The other type is criterion-referenced test which measures on the other hand your knowledge and awareness on a given subject.
At one stage in our life, we all go through tests and there are only two sides of the story to tell. Whether pass or fail. However, we should not forget that these tests, standardized or not do not determine who we are and what we can produce in the future. While it is true and always good to get high scores, let us not allow that to get into our heads and think of others as inferior beings. May low scores also remind and influence us to strive and always aim for the best.