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October 1, 2018

2 min

Jade Fernandez

Tests? Ugh. Simple Steps to Make the Most Out of Them

I hear so many opinions about tests from students, parents, and fellow educators. Let’s be honest – no one likes tests. So why do we have to test so much, so often, and why are we so committed to testing that no one enjoys?

We might as well face the hard facts. Testing will not go away any time soon, so we may as well take this opportunity to make the most of some valuable data. Testing can be meaningless if you let it; however, it can be a powerful tool if you use it wisely. We’ve heard those things before, but Method really puts those words to action.

Using tests to guide teaching

Tests can tell us a story. With the results from tests, our teachers are able to identify the gaps and skills that students are missing. They decide what lessons to teach, sort students into groups to focus on specific skills, and even extend learning when it shows that students are really strong in areas.

We look at schoolwide testing results (grade by grade, standard by standard) to find where our weaknesses in teaching lie and plan for future growth by targeting areas in need.

Using tests to set goals

When one says, “do better next time.” The phrase is so vague that it has no real meaning. Tests can help us find a baseline – establish a measurable goal and really find the ways we can approach our goal to see the greatest success.

Using tests to monitor growth

How do we know if we’re getting anywhere? Tests provide the evidence we need that tell us if our teaching and approaches are working. As we do (or don’t) see growth, we’re able to look at test results and adapt each student’s personalized learning path so it moves toward improvement and success.

So are tests a drag? Yes. But tests can also help us help your student, and as your students see how they’re improving, they become more motivated and more invested in their own learning. They love seeing their scores improve, and it’s another piece of evidence that your student can succeed. Who doesn’t want that?

Method Schools, a network of California public charter schools, is committed to student academic growth through innovative methods. While testing is a state requirement, we do all we can to accommodate student needs and preferences.


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