Why do Schools Test?


The customary answer to this question is usually: “It’s the law. We are required to give this test.”  Though an accurate statement; this response only partly answers this question.   Actually. assessments are school teachers’ diagnostic tools.  An instructor uses these tools to:

  • Determine if a child can adequately retain new content;
  • Evaluate the learner’s ability to retain prior knowledge and integrate this information to unfamiliar scenarios;
  • Identify learning gaps (disparities); and
  • Help students develop competencies to improve their learning  outcomes.

With assessment data, school teachers can identify patterns of academic health or scholastic weakness. “Patterns will vary widely with the focus of the assessment. In one instance, a teacher may see some students who have already mastered the content, others who are fine with computations, but not word problems, still others who know how to tackle the word problems, but are making careless errors, and another group that is struggling with prerequisite knowledge or skills (Tomlinson, 2014).”

All this “learning data” would be lost if it were not for assessments. These testing tools are needed mechanisms to help school teachers make an “educational” diagnoses  in how to improve children’s academic condition(s).

So next time a parent (or even a student) asks, “Why do school sites test?” Let’s give them the full answer.  Help parents understand that assessments are not just about compliance; it is really about problem-solving what every child needs to become a successful scholar.

Source: Tomlinson, C. A. (2014, March). Education Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from ASCD.org: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar14/vol71/num06/The-Bridge-Between-Today’s-Lesson-and-Tomorrow’s.aspx



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