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Standardized Testing

What is a Standardized Test?

A standardized test is a type of test that is given to all children with the same directions and generally the same content across the nation. Standardized tests are given in most school districts, in both public and private schools.

Standardized tests go by many different names, depending upon where the test originated and who published it. A few of the names are Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Metropolitan Achievement Test, Stanford Achievement Test, and TCAP.


Standardized tests are given so that teachers and parents can have information which can help them determine the child’s progress in school, in comparison with other students his or her age. These results may also be used to help school districts uncover areas where they may be lacking, or excelling, in regards to educating children.

Standardized Test Scores

Within a few months of the child taking a standardized test, parents are usually given a computer printout. This printout may be confusing. Many times the results are given in “percentiles” or “stanines.” A sheet usually accompanies the test scores to help the parent interpret the results. Many schools have a meeting which educates parents on how to read the test scores. Parents should not hesitate to ask questions if they do not understand how to read the scores.

Once you are able to interpret the test scores, you will have a better understanding of how your child is doing academically. These scores may alert you to the fact that your child may do better if he or she was placed in an advanced class, or a remedial class. Likewise, these test scores can also prompt many parents to allow their child to skip a grade, or to hold them back to repeat a grade.

Keep in mind that while these tests can be useful instruments, they do not tell everything there is to know about a child. For instance, the results will only tell you how your child did in comparison with other students who took the same test. Many experts feel that standardized test scores should not be taken seriously, while others believe it is a true measure of child’s general aptitude.

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