Teachers’ Tests: Some Thoughts.

Posted on May 26, 2012 by


Generally, I’m not a proponent of standardized testing. When I went to elementary and high school in the U.S., I distinctly remember spending entire class periods learning exactly how to answer test questions to receive the best scores on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (elementary school standardized tests), or how to write five paragraph essays for the ACT (one of the American university entrance exams). We spent far more time learning how to take the tests than we did on the material that was actually on the exam. I was not a fan.

That being said, I’m quite impressed with the certified teachers’ integrated English and computer skills exams here in Georgia. In 2011, 23% of exam-takers passed; this year, that percentage jumped to 54%. I mean, passing results nearly doubled? In one year? That’s great. That is the definition of the word “results.”

I wasn’t aware that test-takers were allowed to use outside resources like search engines and dictionaries while taking their exams. I think that’s a great idea, because, well, this is the 21st century. It’s nearly impossible to live in this society without utilizing additional resources—and really, what are the chances, in the ‘Real World,’ that someone would be given a task to complete without being able to consult books, other people, or the Internet? Slim to none, dear readers. My co-teachers have all expressed interest in increasing technology use in the classroom, and I hope having studied for and taken the test helps them achieve it.

Not to brag, but I think the TLG program has had a bit of a hand in this. Being exposed to English speakers—and thus, the outside world—has increased teachers’ desires to expand their knowledge and worldview. When teachers do this, students get a better education.  These are standardized tests I can approve of.