In the education industry today, there is a lot of discussion around the topic of assessment. Standardized assessments are often seen as a negative by the public, and some educators even express disappointment with the emphasis on testing in their school systems. While it’s true that too much testing can be harmful, assessing academic performance is a key component of an effective learning program. In fact, evaluating student reading and math levels is vital to building knowledge and basic skills. Here are some benefits.
The most important benefit that assessment gives educators is information about possible achievement gaps. In large classrooms of 30 or so kids, it can be difficult for teachers to pinpoint each student’s deficits in skills without standardized tests. With an assessment, learning gaps can be identified and addressed, giving struggling students more ways to catch up and find success. Teachers can create remedial programs to give these students a more level playing field and allow them to shine and succeed.
Next, assessments like the i-Ready test also identify learners that have mastered basic skills and may be more advanced than some of their peers. These learners also need individualized attention with their academic progress so that they don’t end up bored and disengaged. For high-level and gifted learners, they can get access to enrichment opportunities or advanced programs that allow them to thrive. Assessments are the key to identifying students that have the potential for the most difficult tasks and programs.
Understanding the specific skill level of each child in the classroom also gives educators instructional ideas. For reading and math skills, assessments allow teachers to focus on specific objectives and goals in reading comprehension and problem solving. With data from the assessment, teachers can refine their daily lessons and units to adapt to the current skills of their class or students. Periodic assessments throughout the year can help teachers avoid covering mastered topics and move on to more effective lessons with new material.
Class placement decisions can also be more effective with specific data about i-Ready math and reading skills levels. In elementary and secondary schools, administrators want to give students the best opportunities to gain knowledge in their class. Assessments may be able to determine if students should be placed in a smaller setting with more direct instruction or if they are ready for a larger class with more independent work requirements. Additionally, in high school, students opting for advanced placement or honors classes need to demonstrate certain competencies on their assessments.
Assessments are also important tools for student motivation. Many policymakers forget that the students themselves are often very aware of their scores on standardized assessments. This information about score results helps some students take ownership of their learning and may motivate them to strive for better scores. Teachers who explain the purpose of each assessment and share the students’ results with them may get more authentic and accurate results with children putting more effort into the tests.
Evaluate Teaching Methods
The last benefit of standardized assessments is that they give educators a way to evaluate their teaching methods. New teaching strategies may not be unproven, so it’s essential to evaluate different teaching styles with each group of students. One way to measure a program’s success is to administer a pre-test before teaching and a post-test after the end of the unit.
Knowledge about each student’s academic skills and progress is a large component of boosting success. Standardized tests that measure these skills shouldn’t be shelved. Instead, these assessments should be used for specific purposes to help support academic progress.