Standardized Tests: What’s Wrong and What’s Right About Them?

Standardized tests have been part of the American education system for over a century. Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT are college entrance exams designed to assess a student’s ability to succeed. When the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) became law in 2002, standardized testing in public schools was mandated in all 50 states. Annual reading, math and science testing is now required for grades 3 through 8 and once again in high school. The NCLB was created to improve student performance and uses performance scores to evaluate teachers and schools. Low scores not only have repercussions for the students, but can also lead to the dismissal of teachers and school closings.

NCLB was passed to address the declining performance of American students in math and science. Experts blamed rising poverty, poor teacher performance and tenure policies that make it difficult to fire teachers who under perform. Student scores on standardized tests is the method used to gauge student, teacher and school performance.

Today’s standardized tests typically consist of multiple-choice questions and are graded through an automated process. Standardized testing is multi-billion-dollar industry, due in large part to the NCLB mandated testing requirements. The first standardized tests were very different.

The first known standardized test was given in Imperial China in the 7th century. Government job applicants were tested about their knowledge of Confucian philosophy. The Industrial Revolution sparked the use of standardized testing in the Western world. Farm and factory workers rushed back into classrooms and testing gave educators the tools develop relevant curriculums. Reformers Samuel Gridley Howe and Horace Mann used the centralized Prussian system as a model and introduced the first standardized test to the Boston school district. Developed to provide a single standard, compare schools and gather information about the quality of teachers, the test was soon adopted across the country. Concerns about excessive testing were voiced in 1906, when the New York State Department of Education warned that persistently drilling students was a “very great and more serious evil…” The earliest known multiple-choice test was the Kansas Silent Reading Test, developed by Kansas school director, Frederick J. Kelly. His goal was to reduce time and effort in scoring and test administration. International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) hired inventor and teacher Reynold B. Johnson to create a test scoring machine prototype in 1934.

Standardized testing has always had its supporters and detractors, but the debate is more pronounced now than ever. Since the NCLB passed, low standardized test scores result in high-stakes consequences for students, teachers and schools. The question of whether the use of standardized tests improves education in America is very much a divisive issue.

What Standardized Test Supporters Say

Standardized test supporters believe that testing has a positive effect on student performance and achievement. Richard P. Phelps, a testing scholar, analyzed over 100 years of standardized test research and found that 93 percent of the studies found a positive effect on student performance. A 2010 McKinsey & Company report found that 20 school systems that use national and international performance assessments achieved “significant, sustained, and widespread gains.”

Supporters point to the fact that China, with its long tradition of standardized tests, leads the world in reading, math and science skills. They also say that teachers, students and parents in the United States overwhelmingly support standardized testing, that the tests are fair and administered at a low cost and that the quality of school curriculums has improved since the NCLB was initiated. Supporters believe that standardized tests better prepare students for college.

What Standardized Test Critics Say

Standardized test detractors believe that testing is an inhibitor, not a performance booster. They point to the fact that in 2002, before NCLB was initiated, the United States was 18th in the Programme for International Student Assessment, but dropped to 31st in 2009, seven years after it was enacted. Detractors do not believe standardized tests accurately measure student performance. A 2001 Brookings Institution study found 50-80 percent of year-to-year test score improvements were not only temporary, but were caused by fluctuations that “had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.”

Critics also believe that standardized tests are geared toward those in higher economic groups and discriminate against low-income, non-native English speakers and special needs students. Detractors believe that standardized testing forces educators to “teach to the test,” rather than teach meaningful classes that and promote creativity, enthusiasm, empathy, leadership, courage and compassion, qualities that cannot be measured with tests.

The Future of Standardized Tests

There is no question that standardized testing is here to stay. Changes are on the horizon, however. The College Board recently announced a completely redesigned SAT, the college entrance exam it administers, that will take effect in the spring of 2016. The current test has long been criticized as an unfair and unreliable measure of college readiness.

The adoption of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is likely to add to the number of standardized tests students in middle and high school take. Common Core is an educational initiative that endeavors to establish educational consistency throughout the United States and better prepare all students to successfully enter two-year or four-year colleges. The initiative sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association, currently has 44 state members. Common Core State Standards Initiate assessments will begin in the 2014 to 2015 school year.

Even “Bad” Test Takers Can Improve Their ACT Scores

Millions of students take the ACT, but many are disappointed when they receive their scores. A low ACT score not only limits a student’s college options, but it can also reduce the student’s chances at scholarships. Why is it that many intelligent students do so poorly on the ACT?

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, KY, founder of Bad Test Takers, set out to find out why smart kids have trouble getting high ACT scores. He discovered that students took the ACT as if it were like the tests they were used to taking at school. This tendency, Ohayon believes, causes students to go into the test totally unprepared. After years of study and experimentation, he devised a simple but revolutionary approach for taking the ACT, giving students the tools they need to tackle all four ACT sections in the most effective way.

Ohayon founded Bad Test Takers to teach students how to take advantage of what he and his team of expert tutors have learned about the ACT. An interactive online course takes students through each section of the test, teaching them how to abandon bad test-taking habits and learn new, sometimes seemingly counterintuitive ways to tackle the ACT strategically.

Ohayon and the Bad Test Takers team periodically retake the ACT to ensure the efficacy of their approach and to keep their years of experience finely honed. Based in Louisville, KY, the team also travels to schools across the country where they conduct workshops and seminars.

Get Better ACT Scores With Proven Techniques

Higher ACT scores often translate into greater opportunities for college, scholarships, and grants. But many students fail to earn scores that demonstrate their strong academic abilities and skills. Moshe Ohayon of Louisville is an ACT expert who devised a new approach to taking this test and achieving higher scores. Called “The ACT for Bad Test Takers,” this revolutionary new strategy teaches students who are disappointed with their test performance how to completely change their approach to the ACT.

The way most students have learned to take tests in school often doesn’t work for the ACT and may even be result in lower scores. He and his team of experts studied the ACT extensively and devised a revolutionary approach that teaches students how to let go of old test-taking habits and, instead, apply strategic and practical thinking to get higher ACT scores.

Moshe and his team at Bad Test Takers were not born with a magic test-taking gene. Just like many of the students they help, the ACT was a challenge when they first encountered it. As an educator, however, he wondered why many who take the ACT perform well in school but fail to score highly on standardized tests like the ACT. Test anxiety alone, Ohayon reasoned, simply couldn’t account for the vast number of students who found themselves in this situation. He gathered a team of experts to study and analyze the ACT and its structure. Based on their discoveries, he and his team developed a new strategy called The ACT for Bad Test Takers to help students achieve the highest ACT scores.

When Ohayon and his team at Bad Test Takers set out to develop a new way of taking the ACT, they realized that each section presented its own set of challenges. What seems natural to most students to do on the ACT is often counter-productive. For example, most students believe it’s critical to finish the test in the time allotted, and a staggering number of students do very little preparation for the test, if at all. Even among students who do prepare, for instance, there are those who attempt to ready themselves for the English or Reading sections by studying formal grammar or even vocabulary or for the Math and Science sections by memorizing lists of formulas and equations.

Ohayon and the Bad Test Takers team discovered that a different approach more accurately reflects the ACT’s structure and the way it’s scored. A groundbreaking yet simple strategy, the ACT for Bad Test Takers gives students the tools to achieve higher scores.

Taking the ACT is an experience few forget. But Moshe Ohayon doesn’t have to think back to his high school days to remember the anxiety he felt when taking the ACT. That’s because he and his team of tutors regularly take the test themselves. They certainly don’t do it because they enjoy the stress and fatigue of answering ACT questions for four hours on the occasional Saturday morning or because they want to brag about routinely scoring in the 99th percentile (between 33 and 36). They do it to make sure their approach works and to continually put themselves in their students’ shoes.

This is what has made the The ACT for Bad Test Takers a powerfully effective and highly popular strategy that has helped thousands of students reach their target scores.

Bad Test Takers Founder Moshe Ohayon Takes on the ACT

An experienced tutor, Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, saw it time and time again: A gifted student, with a high GPA, flounders when it comes to the ACT. The question is why? What is it about the ACT that causes this surprising contrast?

Ohayon and his team of experts at Bad Test Takers set out to discover the cause. What they discovered is that students go into the ACT surprisingly unprepared. With that in mind, Moshe Ohayon and his team devised a new way of approaching the ACT that focuses on strategic thinking and minimizing mistakes. Available online, the ACT Strategy Course gives students the tools to raise their ACT scores.

Learn How to Raise ACT Scores With Bad Test Takers

Most high school students go into the ACT thinking that it’s similar to the familiar middle and high school tests they have taken for years. Unfortunately, the same techniques that work on high school tests often work against them on the ACT. Gifted educator and author Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, KY, saw the need for a new approach. After years of studying the ACT and how it functions, Ohayon developed a new strategy to help his students improve their ACT scores.

A student with a strong ACT score has greater options: higher scores often lead to more scholarship opportunities and college admissions offers. But students are often frustrated with their performance on the ACT. Moshe Ohayon of Louisville offers these students a whole new way of thinking about the ACT. His company, Bad Test Takers, named for the label students sometimes give themselves, specializes in giving students the tools they need to tackle the test and boost their scores.

Learn to Boost Your Score with ACT Expert Moshe Ohayon of Louisville

Bad Test Takers prepares high school students to take the ACT in a new way. Bad Test Takers deviates from the traditional approach, instead providing a proven method of obtaining higher scores. Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, KY, an ACT expert and founder of Bad Test Takers, devised a new technique whereby students replace ineffective test-taking habits with analytical, strategic thinking that significantly boosts ACT scores. Higher scores mean better opportunities when it comes to scholarships and admission to a student’s college of choice.

Bad Test Takers offers a one-of-a-kind online experience that teaches students how to take advantage of the way the ACT is structured and outlines techniques that can significantly raise test scores. Moshe Ohayon and other experts at Bad Test Takers continually study and analyze, not only the ACT itself, but also how it is scored to define the best test-taking strategies. Amazingly, to keep their experience current and ensure the effectiveness of their methods, Ohayon and his team continue to take the ACT themselves.

Human nature often takes the upper hand and many students put ACT preparation on the back burner, not thinking about it until they are juniors or seniors. Ohayon recommends that students begin ACT preparation no later than their sophomore year. Students who begin preparing later face more challenges to improvement. With hard work, however, even students who begin late benefit greatly from the Bad Test Takers approach. With the help of Ohayon and the Bad Test Takers team, thousands of students have successfully reached their target ACT scores.

Boost Your ACT Score With Moshe Ohayon’s Proven Techniques

College-bound high school students typically feel a sense of dread when they think about taking the ACT. A student’s ACT score affects everything from college acceptance to scholarship opportunities. For this reason, the ACT has become a dreaded, four-hour marathon in which students feel tremendous pressure to do well. Unfortunately, many will find that their scores don’t accurately reflect their capabilities.

After years of study and experimentation, Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, KY, founded Bad Test Takers, a test prep company designed to help frustrated students boost their standardized test scores. Most students, despite being intelligent and knowledgeable in core subject areas, enter the ACT surprisingly unprepared. With Ohayon’s proven techniques and logical attack strategies, students achieve significantly higher scores by learning how to minimize mistakes and how to think strategically about the ACT and its structure.

Ohayon and the Bad Test Takers team of highly knowledgeable instructors make it their mission to study and analyze every minute detail about the ACT. In fact, every instructor routinely retakes the ACT to test and retest Bad Test Takers strategies. Students learn from the experts about how to take the test in a smarter way, using a revolutionary, seemingly counter-intuitive approach. Students often fail to realize that many of the test-taking habits they use on high school exams are ineffective when it comes to the ACT. Replacing these habits with a tactical ACT-specific approach is the key to a significantly higher score.

Such an approach is the key to the success of Bad Test Takers, which offers one-on-one tutoring and online ACT courses but also recently published what has become a wildly popular strategy guide entitled The ACT for Bad Test Takers. Bad Test Takers also offers professional development and consulting services to schools and educators, guiding them on how to best equip students for success on the ACT.

Moshe Ohayon: Teaching Students How to Ace the ACT

Over 1.5 million students take the ACT each year, but many earn scores that are well below their true abilities. Whether this stems from the students’ fear or lack of tools to successfully take the test, low scores typically do not accurately gauge a student’s capabilities. But college entrance exams, like the ACT and SAT, carry high stakes: higher ACT scores are often the key to more scholarship opportunities and college admission offers.

For this reason, Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, KY, founded Bad Test Takers to teach practical, no-nonsense techniques that not only help students build confidence for the ACT but also yield significantly higher scores. Ohayon, a self-confessed former bad test taker, and his team spent hundreds of hours learning the ins and outs of the ACT. In fact, they still take the four-hour exam themselves from time to time. Taking the test periodically ensures that Bad Test Takers strategies remain relevant and that tutors keep their experience current instead of relying on a 10- or 20-year-old memory.

But more importantly, Ohayon and his team studied the test-taking tendencies of their students. Most high school students approach the ACT as they would a test in school. Because of the ACT’s format and rigorous time constraints, however, it is fundamentally different. Still, students often choose to race through the exam with only the finish line in mind. Approaching the ACT in this way is counterproductive, Ohayon discovered, and will often leading to a disappointing score. For many students, obtaining a higher ACT score first requires a change in mindset.

After years of study and experimentation, Ohayon perfected a unique approach to the ACT and now shares his proven strategy with students and schools all over the country. Last year, Ohayon and Bad Test Takers published The ACT for Bad Test Takers, a powerful strategy guide that teaches students frustrated with the test how to approach it much more effectively. The strategy is also available in a popular online crash course that teaches bad test takers how to become good ones. The course can be found on