Monday, September 05, 2005

Standardized Tests

In order to offically enroll in the school where I'm currently working toward my EC-4 certificate, I had to take a standardized test called the THEA (Texas Higher Education Assessment, same test as the one formerly known as the TASP, or Texas Academic Skills Program). Because I'm so old, my SAT scores didn't count, and although my nearly-as-ancient GRE scores would have counted, I don't have the original score report any longer, only a Xerox, which can't be accepted. So I took the THEA, no big deal; probably it's better for me to have the official state test under my belt as long as I'm starting my teaching career in Texas anyway.

So, my results came the other day. I'm not mathematically inclined, so I had studied up a bit on solving math problems. Use of a calculator is allowed during the test, and they give you all the formulas (area of a circle, quadratic equation, etc.), so the whole thing is a bit of a joke. Even so, I had a hard time figuring out how to go about solving some of the word problems; that shows you how weak my level of mathematical skill (or at least my confidence) is.

As for the writing and reading sections, I didn't even bother to review the practice sections. I'm too much of an old hand at this sort of thing, as you'll see.

My scores are
Reading: 294/300, Math: 297/300, Writing: 300/300, Essay: 8 out of a possible 8.

More tests, including two separate TExES (Texas Examination of Educator Standards) exams, are to come. So by the time I start my career, I'll have taken more standardized tests, I'd imagine, than any other elementary school teacher alive. I've already taken:

* SAT - Formerly, the Scholastic Aptitude Test. This days, apparently, Aptitude is too harsh a judgement on our nation's dimmer children, so "SAT" offically stands for nothing. (That's the spirit! High expectations for all!) Since I'm old, I took it far too long ago to remember my exact score, and I don't have a copy of the score report; I think it was in the 1100 range (1120? 1180?), which is not at all superior.

* LSAT - Law School Admission Test. Yes, there was a brief time in my post-bac career when certain external forces were urging me to become a scumbag lawyer. (I kid! Actually, three of my best friends are lawyers, and so is my brother!) I have always been interested in criminal law, America's penal system specifially and the ethics of punishment in general, but lawyering just isn't my calling. Nonetheless, I took the pre-law school test and got, I think, a 163 out of 180. Which is just a little better than average and certainly not high enough for a good law school to take notice. I then failed to apply to any law schools.

* GRE - The Graduate Record Exam. Prior to attending grad school and getting my Master's, I took this test. Verbal: 770/800, Quantitiative: 710/800, Analytical: 800/800.

* PRAXIS - Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. Yes, I took this exam, the one used by the majority of U.S. states, back when I was trying to get into another teaching program in Oregon. However, as I'm now in a Texas program, I will eventally have to take the TExES, this state's official teachers' test. My PRAXIS scores won't cut it, even though I got English Composition Content Knowledge: 200/200, English Composition Essays: 195/200, PPST [Pre-Professional Skills Test] Reading: 187/190, PPST Writing: 188/190, PPST Math: 190/190.

* CBEST - California Basic Educational Skills Test. Again, I took this when trying to get into that program in Oregon (because they accept the California test). Reading: 67/80, Math: 71/80, Writing: 75/80.

Whew! That's a hell of a lot of little tiny bubbles filled in neatly and completely with a sharp #2 pencil. Looking back over the scores, it seems my math results don't accurately reflect my self-assessment as a non-mathematically inclined person.

No comments: