fact sheets

Readiness Tests

The main reason for testing and evaluating students must be to improve student learning. Each year, however, public school students in the U.S. must take millions of standardized tests which are more harmful than helpful and which do nothing to improve the equality of instruction or learning for students.


Among the tests which are especially damaging to young children are readiness tests. Schools frequently use the scores from readiness tests to judge whether children are 'ready' for kindergarten or are 'ready' for promotion to first grade.

The Testing Explosion

America's public schools administer more than 100 million standardized exams each year, including IQ, achievement, screening, and readiness tests.

Much of the time and money devoted to testing is misspent. Too many tests are poorly constructed, unreliable, and unevenly administered. Multiple-choice questions cannot measure thinking skills, creativity, the ability to solve real problems, or the social skills we want our children to have. Moreover, many exams are biased racially, culturally, linguistically, and by class and gender.

How to Use the Freedom of Information Act

The Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law, passed by Congress and signed by the President in 1966, gives members of the public the right to obtain certain government records. The law was written to contribute to an informed citizenry that they could better participate in democratic decision making. State have their own FOIA laws and regulations which pertain to state and often local government agencies. 


Second Grade Testing: A Position Paper

Brenda S. Engel, Lesley College


This position paper outlines reasons to oppose standardized testing of second
graders and then suggests a viable alternative.


A. Primary school children and standardized testing


Authentic Accountability

“Accountability” has become the fundamental tool for instituting changes in public schools. In most states and districts and through the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, accountability means using standardized test results to trigger labels, sanctions, rewards or interventions for districts, schools, educators or students.This approach has been both insufficient and has had undesirable side effects.

Reality-Testing NCLB

Proponents of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law have charged critics with creating "myths" about the law and have issued their own "facts." It's time to look at the evidence for a reality check on NCLB's claims of success.[1]

THE CLAIM: Proponents say higher test scores prove NCLB is working.

Multiple-Choice Tests

A multiple-choice test usually has dozens of questions or "items." For each question, the test- taker is supposed to select the "best" choice among a set of four or five options. (They are sometime called "selected-response tests.") For example:

What causes night and day?

A. The earth spins on its axis.
B. The earth moves around the sun.
C. Clouds block out the sun's light.
D. The earth moves into and out of the sun's shadow.
E. The sun goes around the earth.

Criterion- and Standards- Referenced Tests

Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. Multiple-choice tests most people take to get a driver's license and on-the-road driving tests are both examples of criterion-referenced tests. As on most other CRTs, it is possible for everyone to earn a passing score if they know about driving rules and if they drive reasonably well.

Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests

Human beings make tests. They decide what topics to include on the test, what kinds of questions to ask, and what the correct answers are, as well as how to use test scores. Tests can be made to compare students to each other (norm-referenced tests) or to see whether students have mastered a body of knowledge (criterion or standards-referenced tests). This fact sheet explains what NRTs are, their limitations and flaws, and how they affect schools.


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