A teacher’s troubling account of giving a 106-question standardized test to 11 year olds

Oct 7, 2013 by

Here’s a detailed account from a teacher about the troubling experience she had giving her middle-school class of 11-year-old students a standardized reading diagnostic test, with both oral and written questions.

This appeared on Jessie B. Ramey‘s Yinzercation blog. She teaches women’s studies and history at the University of Pittsburgh.  The test that is being described in this post is Pearson Education’s The GRADE™, or Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation. The Pearson website describes it as

 a diagnostic reading test that determines what developmental skills students Pre-K through 12th grade have mastered and where they need instruction or intervention. And GRADE helps educators with the recommended instruction through correlated follow-up materials. GRADE is group-administered, norm-referenced, and based on scientific research. GRADE provides the components educators need to accurately and efficiently assess reading competencies.



Because the test is a reading diagnostic exam, it does not necessarily carry “high stakes” with it as many other standardized tests do. But, as these teacher describes, there are problems that come with giving kids a slew of standardized tests, whatever the kind.

Here’s the post.

By Jessie B. Ramey

We’re just a month into school and already the testing madness has begun. Many Pittsburgh Public School students have just taken their first round of standardized tests, and it’s time to ask some serious questions about their purpose, the ever-increasing number of tests, and the impact on our children.

Let’s start with this troubling account from a middle-school language arts and social studies teacher, who just gave the “GRADE” reading test to her students. This is a diagnostic assessment designed by the education corporate giant, Pearson, and the district is using grant money to pay for it. (More on both of these points after you have read this teacher’s story).

A teacher’s troubling account of giving a 106-question standardized test to 11 year olds.

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