Frequently Asked Questions About Standardized Tests

How do standardized tests help students, parents and teachers?
Standardized tests are an important teaching and learning tool. Given during the course of a school year, for example, they can provide teachers with valuable information to help them adjust their teaching practice for individual students and for the class as a whole.
How do standardized tests help education decision makers and taxpayers?
Schools, school districts and county superintendents analyze test results to measure student progress, identify areas where improvement is needed and allocate resources accordingly. State and national policymakers may use test results to compare progress among school districts, counties and states.
Are standardized tests fair to economic, ethnic and cultural segments of a diverse student population?
At ETS, we go to great lengths to ensure that assessments will be designed, developed and administered in ways that treat people equally and fairly regardless of differences in personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender or disability that are not relevant to the intended use of the assessment.

More information on our fairness guidelines and procedures is available in our ETS Standards for Quality and Fairness publication.
Does ETS adapt standardized tests for disabled students?
ETS allows a variety of special accommodations for students with disabilities, including tests in Braille, large print and audio. Our aim is to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their best work with respect to the knowledge, skills and abilities that a test is designed to measure.
How does ETS develop test questions?
Before any test questions are developed, educators and other professionals who use test results first define the knowledge and skills that the test will need to cover. Then we work with teachers, test experts and others to develop a pool of questions. These questions then go through multiple, rigorous reviews so that they meet the highest standards for quality and fairness.
Can parents and teachers use test results to help individual students do better in school?
Testing can help both parents and teachers better understand how well their children are doing in the classroom, and how their learning compares with that of other students in their school, their state and across the nation. Test results can help diagnose a student's learning needs, identify specific areas that need improvement and determine if a student is ready to move to the next grade level.
How can parents and teachers help students prepare for tests?
Parents can help their children do their best on tests by providing an environment of open communication, encouragement and support. To help avoid unnecessary test anxiety, teachers can make sure their students are fully prepared for the testing experience.
For more information on preparing for a test, visit our Preparing for Tests page.

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