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edu180atl: 10.12.11 sarah zoellick

At school there has been a lot of talk about the PSAT test which my peers and I, as freshmen, will be taking today for the first time. Even though our teachers and advisors have told us that how we perform today is just a benchmark and won’t affect us, there is still a lot if pressure to do well.

All of this makes me wonder how much of an accurate representation these standardized test scores really are.

I personally know plenty of intelligent people who just don’t perform well in a standardized testing environment for one reason or another. These people are kind, passionate, and involved, but these tests don’t measure those things. And that’s an issue. Standardized tests are not set up to reflect the whole person…and  no traditional assessment really is.

So, what I have learned today, even before I take this test? I’ve learned that though we cannot abolish standardized tests, maybe we do not need to put as much importance on the results as we do. I realize that the tests are given for good reason, but there are other ways to measure a person’s worth, and those ways are just as important as test scores, if not more so.

About the Author: Sarah Zoellick is a student at the Westminster Schools. She is an avid fencer, and loves to explore the world around her. Follow her on twitter @fencersz.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post, Sarah! I agree that we need to rethink our whole standard testing protocols and the reliance we place on these tests. In addition to not measuring the interpersonal skills you mentioned, they do not measure creativity, cooperation, innovation, and real problem solving – all crucial skills to today’s world.

    October 12, 2011
  2. Sarah,

    My daughter is a senior and going through the college application process. She’s been one of those who “does well” on standardized tests, but I am grateful that her teachers and her work at school is not overly focused on those tests.

    As Jeff so aptly notes above, the world needs people with skills beyond what these tests measure. There is a need to challenge one another, as students, parents, and educators, to vigorously pursue a more expansive notion of “success.”

    October 14, 2011
  3. Wow Sarah! What an insightful and important post. I love that you are proactive enough in your own educational journey to consider deeply the things you are asked to do. I love that you know that these tests do not measure a person’s worth, nor do they predict a person’s potential contribution to the world around them. Let me ask you this: how will you and your friends work to ensure that the day the scores arrive holds no more meaning or import than any other day in your life? Maybe we should start a banner in our building? We could say: “instead of opening my PSAT scores I….” and folks could write in something they did that day that held deep meaning for them “… I perfected my back walkover… I raised money for Habitat… I mastered a new concept in geometry… etc. What do you think? Instead of having the College Board send you a letter that “summarizes your potential”, if you wrote the letter to yourself, what would it say? Dr. Moore

    October 15, 2011

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