First of all, I believe that the whole child does need to be assesses, but there are factors that should be considered before the test is administered. Age, gender, and environment should be considered before a child is assesses. I have a few examples that I would like to share with you all. From being a Early Head Start teacher I have seen the downfall of a child being assessed through different measurement of testing. My son began Head Start last year, and after being in school for almost a month, he had a asthma attack that landed him in the hospital for four days. When he came home from the hospital he was still a little tired from being in the hospital. The next day the resource worker from the center called and said that he needed to come to the center so that he could get tested. So we took him to school the next day and he took his test. A few weeks later I received a letter from the center stating that the specialist wanted to have a meeting with me because my son had scored low on his language skills, primarily his verbal and nonverbal skills. As a mother, I was kind of shock and confused and I was like are you sure? So, I became emotional, like how could I have missed this. Instead, I recalled when he took the test and I asked a speech specialist to analyze him and she did not identify a problem. My reason for telling you this is because sometimes we prejudge or miss something about a child without knowing their health and how they are feeling. Children react different to strangers and sometimes when they are being tested, they may be hungry, sleepy or just feeling a touch of anxiety. I believe that young children should be observed and I believe that their should be communication between the tester and the assessor to really know the abilities and weakness of young children. Testing is needed to determine the strengths and weakness in the domains of development, but to judge a child on a test may also be bias.
Children have to take the Standard Aptitude Test, which is used to predict future performance; Standardized Achievement Test, which is designed to measure what a child has learned in a specific area; Standardized Screening and Diagnostic Tests, which is used to diagnose or identify children who may have learning disabilities; and Standardized Tests, which has specific characteristics toward reliability and validity. As teachers we have to be able to recognize the validity and reliability of a test.
The children in Japan take a National Achievement Test. According to the article, (National Achievement Test, 2011) the subjects that are tested are Japanese and arithmetic for elementary school students and Japanese and mathematics for junior high school students. Children that live in wealthy areas score high on the test; whereas, children who live in poor areas score low. Also, children in private schools take the NAT.
In Mississippi, the children can be passing the basic subjects in the classroom with all A's, but if they fail the Standardize Test, then they will be unable to graduate. This forces a lot of children to enroll in private schools their last year of high school, so that the test will not affect their graduation.
National Achievement Test. (2011, February 17). Retrieved December 9, 2011, from Statistics Japan: Prefecture Comparisons: http://stats-japan.com/t/kiji/12090