Standardized testing has received plenty of criticism in the last few decades. Many educators claim that the results provide little more information than the ability of a student to pass that particular test. Still, there are very few other metrics by which schools can assess the overall progress of individual students and grade-level performance. Specifically in ELA, any test that includes a verbal section will assess a student’s performance in language proficiency, reading comprehension, and critical thinking– all areas essential in predicting success at the college level and beyond.
So, what exactly do these tests test?
The verbal section on standardized tests is designed to determine proficiency in reading, writing, and language skills and whether students are meeting their grade-level targets. These tests assess basic grammar, technical understanding of English, and vocabulary acquisition, allowing students to comprehend complex texts. A student's performance in these areas indicates their ability to analyze text for deeper meaning. These foundational skills function as a litmus test for future success or potential learning deficits a student may display as they grow older and school tasks become more rigorous. The scores are used for collecting data for on-track progress of learning benchmarks, both at the individual and grade level, to determine whether students are meeting expectations.
What do these scores tell us?
For students who do not meet expectations, this data is valuable for determining targeted learning plans and interventions to meet those deficits head-on. Scores can be used to determine class placement for curriculum tracks, allowing students to receive interventions where necessary or take more rigorous coursework based on their ability. While critics claim these results depend on the test, standardized testing remains a consistent way to find individual students' strengths and weaknesses. Verbal scores can offer a great deal of information on a student’s ability to analyze text, recognize patterns and relationships, and in written sections, their ability to process, re-organize, and explain information from reading.
How are these scores used by colleges?
By high school, years of collected data can help predict how students will fare in college and their career prospects afterward. Assessing the verbal aptitude of college-bound students helps determine college readiness. Many colleges rely less on standardized test scores as part of a holistic admissions approach. However, these scores are still valuable guides to evaluate whether students are prepared for college-level coursework or the demands of their chosen major.
Is your child prepared to tackle the verbal sections on standardized tests? Let our teachers at LTWN help your child navigate these complicated assessments and build confidence in their verbal skills. We offer prep classes for many common tests for middle and high school students nationwide. For more information, visit the pages for each workshop we offer: PSAT, SAT, CoGAT, and ACT.
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