Do Standardized Tests Create Innovative Thinking?

Do Standardized Tests Create Innovative Thinking?

Image 12-5-13 at 1.32 PM

 This is a great cartoon.  You can double click on it to read it better.  It really does speak the truth today about what is going on in schools.  We have all of these tests and honestly most of them are lame.  Why are they lame, because they don't give us the information we need in order to effectively instruct our students.

When I was teaching in the classroom I remember the test results coming about 4 months after the kids had taken the test.  By that point the information that I could glean from the test, if I didn't know that information, then I shouldn't be teaching in the first place.  I should always know how well my students can perform during certain activities.

This leads me to the second part.  If standardized tests are not useful for teachers who are teaching kids, then maybe they are developing skills that kids need. Nope, they certainly don't accomplish that either.  We don't think in A, B, C answer choices.  Which makes this cartoon so funny.

As a student in the elementary, middle school, and high school years I did an absolute horrible job on all of my standardized tests.  I was put into the lowest performing classes and dumbed down to because my brain didn't know how to process multiple choice test.  However, the most amazing thing happened for me once I got my Master's degree.  The school that I attended dropped any kind of paper test and only used essay writing to determine what you knew and what you didn't know.  As a result, I ended up graduating with a 4.0.  Now, I know that not everyone can communicate well through writing, but this fit more with my style to show what I knew.

I was working in the school system when I was getting my Master's Degree and during that time I learned how to teach kids to take multiple choice tests.  Now, I know that these tests are not going away, so I will share some of the tips regarding multiple choice tests in reading that I have learned.  By the way, I now can do very well on multiple choice tests as a result.

1.  There is always one throwaway answer.

2.  Two answers are always good answers, but only one is the best.

3.  If you are reading a passage, read the questions ahead of time (not the answer choices) to get your brain thinking about what you are going to get tested on.

4.  Go back to the passage and find your answer if you are stuck or not sure of the answer.

5.  Never leave a question blank, always fill in one bubble even if you don't have time to finish.  You will have a 25% chance of getting it right if you at least fill in one vs. skipping it.

How did you do with multiple choice tests when you were in school?  Does your child struggle with taking them?  What are your thoughts about standardized tests?  I would really love to hear your opinion on the matter.





  1. One of the reasons I made a decision not to pursue teaching in the public school system was because of this very issue – standardized testing. It’s great for students who are good at taking tests, but heartbreaking for students who think outside of the box and perhaps are just as intelligent, but not in a test-taking kind of way.

    Thank you for speaking up about standardized testing!
    Susan Schiller recently posted..I See YouMy Profile

  2. Actually I never really struggled with multiple choice questions – I always thought they were easy because I knew one of the answers was right lol.
    But from a teachers point of view I wouldn’t think they were very useful. A good teacher knows how his pupils are doing.
    suzanna recently posted..A MUMMY TRICK: Entry in the 2013 Nativity Factor Competition. VOTES WANTEDMy Profile

  3. Rochelle Gordon
    Twitter: RochelleCoach

    Thanks so much for the multiple choice test tips. I sure wish I had them when I was in school. I will share these tips with my grandson.
    Rochelle Gordon recently posted..When Is To Do Nothing The Thing To Do?My Profile

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