6 Qualities Standardized Tests Can't Measure

By Kathy Davis November 16, 2021

One of the most frustrating things about standardized tests is they show such a limited window into a student’s mind. They are limited to the scope of the questions on a certain day. If the student is having an off-day or doesn’t understand the questions, it can easily misrepresent what the student knows. 

Not to mention there are a LOT of things a standardized test cannot measure.

  1.  Social skills: Kindness, awareness, patience are just a few of the social skills that are not measured in a test. Social skills are essential in daily interactions for the rest of the child’s life. Internet trolls are prime examples of smart people who lack social tact.
  2. Tenacity: The drive to finish a job even though it becomes trying is a requirement of life's success. Leaders have to have the tenacity to press on and this is not a testable trait.
  3. Problem-solving: Yes, there may be word problems on a test but in real life, we don’t think in word problems. I know people that could solve a word problem with ease but I’m not sure could figure out a real-world problem if their lives depended on it.
  4. Creativity: There is no way a standardized test can demonstrate creativity. Creativity is key in many career situations plus that is vital to solving problems. Artistic flair brings beauty to the world and that is the area with which many students thrive. 
  5. Adaptability: Life is full of unexpected turns. For many success rests on the ability to adapt to those changes. There is no room on a test for this or in many classroom situations.
  6. Physical ability: Surgeons, dancers, professional athletes all have something in common. Their brains communicate well with their bodies. This will not show up on a multiple-choice test.

This is not an exhaustive list of skills that are missed with standardized testing. Incorporating these things in your homeschool may seem daunting but they are not as challenging as you may think. 

Social skills are learned from watching adults. Contrary to popular belief good social skills cannot be learned from peers. When your children watch you communicate with others and themselves, they learn social skills. Tenacity can be encouraged and mostly comes with how you speak with them. Do not allow them to give up easily. Problem solving is learned by presented them with problems through play or real life as they age. Allow them room to fail and figure it out. Creativity can be developed through play or art/music lessons or classes. Adaptability is also learned from mimicking. How do mom and dad adapt to life’s curveballs? Physical ability can be practiced and refined but some students may have a harder time. Give them opportunities to move and try different activities that engage their bodies.

There are many life-long skills that are necessary for success in adulthood that are not testable. However, homeschooling offers ample opportunity to develop those traits!

Kathy Davis is a mom of four who began her homeschool journey in 2006 when her oldest started pre-school.  In May 2021, she graduated her oldest. She is passionate about helping moms stay the homeschooling course while not losing themselves in the process. She mentors burnt-out moms and helps them not only survive but thrive! In April 2020, she launched and started working with Amare Global to offer practical support, solutions, and community for moms who don’t want to lose their dreams and passions during motherhood. If your child has trouble focusing on tests Kid’s Mood by Amare Global can help. You can buy it HERE. Feel free to email her HERE

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