Deseret News
Letter to the editor

Testing has become a form of compulsive-obsessive behavior in our schools. Once schools have bought into test-driven instruction, it is next to impossible to kick the habit. Testing, like a juggernaut, devours everything in its path.

The value of any test is determined in large part by its validity. Does the test really measure what it claims to measure? IQ tests should measure intelligence. Compatibility tests should measure how well people are likely to get along together. Achievement tests should measure what students have learned in school. That's the rub. Test-driven instruction actually reduces the validity of the tests being used. Testing is a self-defeating enterprise. The more frequently students take a test, the less validity it has for measuring what they have learned in school.

16 comments on this story

What do standardized tests actually measure? Statistical studies show that 72 percent of what is learned at school is not measured by the present generation of tests. What do the tests actually measure? They primarily measure test-taking ability. The tests are so insensitive to what is covered in school that it is possible to switch science questions for mathematics questions without altering students' scores. Furthermore, students' test scores should not be used to rate teachers. Teaching accounts for 1 to 14 percent of the variability in students' test scores. What accounts for the bulk of students' achievement test scores? How good students are at guessing the right answers.

Stanley Ivie