The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

Does standardized testing improve education?

Standardized testing is required for every junior in Oregon. But to what extent do those results trickle into the classrooms?
John D’Souza
Senior Connor Larsen studying during class. He is hard at work, editing his article for WBN.

Standardized testing! It’s a process many students are familiar with, being instituted in most K12 schools across the country.

Students have been taking these state tests since elementary school, including the MAP test, OAKS test prep, and others. In 11th grade, Oregon students are required to take the Oregon Statewide Assessment System (OSAS) standardized test. 

Although these tests often seem like a waste of time to students, there is more than what meets the eye. Do standardized tests improve education in classrooms? To find the answer, some background information needs to be uncovered.

Over the years, the OSAS standardized test itself has changed. Wilsonville High School administrator Tate Olsen described the test as “a measure of student… learning and understanding.” The test has been “tweaked” over the years to better serve students across the state and was recently adopted under national standards.

Historically, the state of Oregon set its standards for schools to implement. But as of recent years, a national standard has been developed, and Oregon has adopted the national standards for science, language arts, and mathematics. This has brought many changes to the test itself. 

One big change is the “work sample” part of the test, which was the written portion. This portion has been removed, and the test is wholly multiple-choice. Additionally, the test moved from paper-and-pencil to a digital platform after COVID. These changes are crucial to supporting students as standards change.

Mr. Olsen described them by saying, “Let’s say over the past four years, the average decreases. The test itself is going to change, dependent on the students’ scores.”

So, the tests change to provide accurate data for educators. But how does that data reach the classrooms? The test results go through what’s called an “interim assessment,” and educators can find ways to implement solutions for their current students.

Mr. Olsen explained how different school districts can identify the “weak strands” in their curriculum. “That’s something [our] district kind of has been pushing out this year, for us to… see how [we can] implement these things into the daily classroom environment.” 

He went on to say that the district wants to focus on “constantly checking on students instead of waiting until the junior year.” In theory, this could provide a solution to any weak strands that the district finds in their classrooms. 

Although this is a tedious process, identifying weak strands is vital for a school district to grow in an educational setting.

Standardized testing provides educators, administrators, and school staff with important data about their students. Those standards are critical in identifying weaknesses in individual school districts, down to individual classrooms.

While students often find state testing a bore, the information is invaluable to administrators pursuing a better environment for their students.