Friday, April 27, 2012

Education Friday-Why Testing Fails

Yesterday my son took a standardized test to measure
his achievement, that of his teachers, and of his school.
Because of his autism, his assistant reads the question
and answers and he tells her what to mark.
“I’m not going to pick an answer with a b word in it,” he
told her. And later, “I like the word coil. I’m going
to pick that answer.”
Testing kids with autism is difficult. Relying on test results
as the best measure of their learning is insane. 
Often my son tests quite well. This is just as misleading.
SInce he can memorize information, if we study with him
he can pass most tests. What he cannot do is use that 
information to make predictions and inferences. He cannot
write a coherent paper on his own. And frequently he forgets
the information almost as quickly as he learned it.
Tests are not going to disappear. But we need to remember
they give us limited information about a student’s learning.
All sorts of factors can affect test results. 
And I certainly don’t want my son’s talented teachers to
suffer because the right answer had the word “baseball”
in it.
-Spectrum Mom

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