Hope on the Horizon

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One way to test students using a method besides standardized tests is using performance testing. While undergoing performance testing, students simply do what is being tested. If a student's writing ability were to be tested, he would simply write an essay, pertaining to a concrete set of guidelines, graded by a team of teachers from various schools (Olds). Although this method is not as black and white as standardized testing, it works. If a student cannot write, he will not be able to write a passing essay. The student will learn as he does a performance test. With performance testing the teacher is given an accurate picture of how well each student can perform, and he can use that test to help decide where he needs to go next with his students. (Olds). It does not limit his ability to push his students' limits.

Some believe that standardized tests are the only way for students to have an incentive to do better. However, in Harrison school district, "a color-coded Honor Card is granted to upper-level students who receive all A's and B's during a grading period. The card is good for 10 percent discounts at more than 100 local stores and restaurants" (Speer). A similar card program has been instated at Standley Lake High School, in Colorado. Schools could use the some of the money commonly used on standardized tests to create programs similar to Harrison's honor card program.

Colleges have often relied heavily on standardized test scores to help decide what students are admitted to their schools. But, many colleges rely more heavily on factors such as class rank, admissions essays, and difficulty of classes taken to determine who goes to their colleges. Other alternatives to standardized testing do exist..

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