Well outlined testing methods can improve student learning

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Testing is a necessary part of the educational system. Having students take tests not only holds them accountable and gives them something to strive for, but it also gives teachers an insight into how well each student has understood the curriculum and what changes need to be made to ensure every student is improving. Despite this, there are still regular debates about how extensive testing should be.

Each state determines its own requirements as to how many tests should be given each year depending on grade level and subject matter. While this basis exists, districts are also able to add additional assessments to their yearly schedule to test students on a local level. Some districts only require a few extra tests per year, while others give students routine examinations every few weeks.

While it may seem like a good idea to test students regularly, recent studies show prioritizing testing over base instruction can harm a student’s overall performance.

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A recent study by Mississippi First found that among its testing pool, schools that spent less time on testing out-performed schools that prioritized examinations.

The idea behind this is that, “students who struggle academically need more instructional time, not less,” the study states.

School districts across Pearl River County each require different levels of testing, from four to eight additional testing days per year, to four additional tests every nine weeks. Regardless of the number of tests, however, each district takes the time to analyze testing data to determine the milestones that need to be met and any changes that need to be made.

For Mississippi’s educational system to continue improving, school officials at district and state levels must continue to put their best effort forward and strive for a greater understanding of testing methods to improve student learning.