Essay on State and International Assessment

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State and International Assessment

Assessment is the driving force behind every aspect of teaching today. There is an increasing focus on grades, as well as a growing concern for US performance, in schools compared to others abroad. As a result, standards of learning have not only been developed for each state, but are now being strictly enforced as well. This has caused much controversy over the effectiveness and legitimacy of the standards and over their consequences. By examining various educational resources, in addition to speaking with teachers and administrators, contrasting views become clearer.

According to current research, international assessments can be a strong indicator of national performance and a valuable tool for
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International testing, such as the TIMSS, has shown us that rigorous content, focused curriculum, and good teaching are all critical to improved national performance.

As for state assessment, Virginia tests students’ knowledge of science by administering the Standards of Learning (SOL) test in grades three, five, and eight, as well as in high school Earth science, biology, and chemistry. In some areas, promotion to grades four, six, and nine is contingent upon student performance on these SOL tests. Graduation from high school may also depend on students passing two SOL science tests. School districts within the state of Virginia are required to provide additional academic support for students who perform poorly on these tests. The state allocates special funding for such intervention programs. There are eight standard-setting committees that recommend the guidelines for interpreting score ranges. However, Virginia’s Board of Education makes the final decision on which scores are passing, proficient, or failing. There is a test question for each of the standards, thus teachers are responsible for providing instruction that covers all of the standards’ content areas for their particular grades. Virginia SOL tests affect the classroom by providing teachers with a template for instruction.

Speaking with various educators from the greater Charlottesville area paints a less than
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