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30+ Important Things That Tests Can’t Measure

young girl with paint on her hands

There are many things that standardized tests can’t measure.

Tests can’t predict who will “succeed” in life, regardless of your definition of success. Tests can’t tell a child how or even what he needs to improve. Tests penalize our most creative thinkers. And our world needs all the creative problem solvers it can get.

So when I get an email or phone call from a parent whose child has scored poorly on a standardized test, my immediate hope is that the child hasn’t taken the test scores to heart.

That’s because I’ve seen what can happen when a child takes a test score too seriously. The shoulders that slouch in defeat. The voice that shakes with embarrassment. The sad eyes that let you know your child feels he’s let you down.

Ugh. It makes me want to stomp my foot and tell the child, “It just doesn't matter. You are NOT your test score!

Share Our Poster with Your Child

Help your child recognize the importance of the virtues that tests can’t measure. Hang our colorful and inspirational poster on your refrigerator or schoolroom wall as a visual reminder that character traits like creativity, generosity, and honesty are much more important than test scores!

After downloading our beautiful poster, please share this post with as many people as you can! This is an important topic that extends far beyond reading and spelling.

important things that tests can't measure download graphic

Things that Standardized Tests Can’t Measure

There are many (very important!) things that tests just can’t accurately measure. For example:

  • A test can’t measure the compassion that shines in the eyes of a child caring for a chick that has fallen from its nest.
  • A test can’t measure the generosity shown by a boy who gives his birthday money to the homeless man on the corner.
  • A test can’t measure the creativity that has been poured into every priceless piece of artwork that hangs on the refrigerator.
  • A test can’t measure the joy a little girl feels while slow dancing on her daddy's feet in the living room after dinner.
  • A test can’t measure the determination it takes for a child with dyslexia to complete just one reading assignment.
  • A test can’t measure the love that is wrapped up in the warmth of a child's embrace.

Children everywhere deserve to know this: You are NOT your test score.

You are so much more.

More Things Tests Can’t Measure

Our readers shared a few more qualities that tests can't measure:

  • Tests can't measure imagination. (Ashley P.)
  • Tests can't measure how amazing our kids are! (Heather)
  • Tests can't reflect the joy of listening to a child read and act out a story with great expression and delight. (Pam C.)
  • Tests can't easily measure a child's logic skills. (Learner)
  • Tests can't measure the gifts possessed by these young people, but especially their hearts. (Stacey)
  • Tests can't measure if a child will be a good citizen, a good husband or wife, or a good parent. (Susanna Y.)
  • Tests can't measure how much our children are loved and wanted. (Susanna Y.)
  • Tests can't measure success because learning is a journey in life...practice always makes progress! (Susanna Y.)
  • Tests can't measure faith, trust, hope, reliability, or depth of character. (Laura)
  • Tests can't measure friendship. (Sara)
  • Tests can't measure self-worth. (Sarah)
  • Tests can't measure what a child really knows. (Janet)
  • Tests can’t measure curiosity or determination. (Maceo and Mama Pat)
  • Tests can’t measure daily progress. (Sue)
  • Tests can’t measure effort. (Alison S.)
  • Tests can’t measure a child’s potential. (Diana)
  • Tests can’t measure resiliency. (Lori C.)
  • Tests can’t measure diligence and determination. (Wendy T.)

Is your child still feeling discouraged about a test score? Surround her with encouraging words!

30 Important Things Tests Can't Measure Pinterest Graphic
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Leave a Comment

Jennie

says:

I will remind my older tutoring student about these thoughts regarding testing. Very encouraging and thank you for sharing.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jennie! Thanks for sharing with your tutoring students!!!

Faiza

says:

I really like the article and the posters because unfortunately without realizing it we put so much emphasis on these tests. Thank you for reminding me and all parents that there’s more to our children. This definitely is a topic worthy of more discussion.

Faiza,
Try not to feel too badly about emphasizing tests in the past. Our entire culture stresses standardized results far too much.

Tests can, and arguably should, have a place but there is much more to a person as well. We completely agree that this topic is worthy of more discussion. Thank you for your comments here.

Lisa

says:

Wonderful reminder this time of year!

Christina

says:

Pretty posters!

Jaclyn

says:

Love these, going to be printing one for our school room!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Yay! Thanks for letting me know! Glad you liked them!

Ginger

says:

This is so true and such a great reminder for this season!! Thank you!

Laura

says:

Great reminder.

Rebecca

says:

Our state doesn’t require testing for homeschoolers (IL) but you have to do a lot if you want to join the PS system! My youngers would do terribly – perfectionists, struggling readers, etc. But my 8th grader liked doing well on the standardised tests to go to PS highschool because she said she felt validated that it wasn’t just someone who loved her that thought she was ‘smart’. I like this poster TONS because it’s a good reminder that what’s ‘validated’ by these standardised tests is a small thing out of many important and valuable qualities. And that intrinsic worth has nothing to do with performance at all anyway.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

That’s great that your 8th grader likes taking standardized tests, and that she does well on them! I was always a good test-taker, too–it can be a fun and valuable skill for those who like it.

Mary

says:

Thank you for the wonderful reminder that many of the most important things in life are not measured by standardized tests! And thanks for providing such a well-planned, structured, FUN and supportive curriculum for struggling readers.

carrie

says:

I love this! Thank you so much. My favorite is that it cannot measure determination. That is so true and such a great characteristic for our children to have. The best test scores in the world without determination won’t matter at all!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Very true, Carrie! Thanks for commenting!

Naomi

says:

Such a great reminder not to get hung up on “academic achievement”!

Jodi

says:

We are loving AAR and AAS. I love this post about things that tests can’t measure. I am printing one of these out!!!

Brenda

says:

I really enjoyed your page.

Charisa

says:

i love this curriculum!! I use it for both my girls.

Sephra

says:

Great article! I completely agree.

Jenni Wilson

says:

I like when I heard someone say they don’t test because they already know exactly what their homeschooler knows and doesn’t – they are sitting right next to them. With that being said, I do believe there is some value in teaching kids how take tests, in case they enter the PS system, or even for down the road for tests they’ll have to take as an adult. I think it should be taught how to take a test, just like how to do a worksheet. It’s nothing they should have to fear.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Jenni! I agree–test-taking is a skill that can and should be taught. Thanks for sharing!

This is such a wonderful post ! Thank you!!! :D
and thank you for the Chance to Enter to win Curriculum level of “you” choice !

CHantelle

says:

This is such a great reminder – thank you!

Angela

says:

So true! What a great visual reminder!

Tracey

says:

Love this! My son is struggling with reading but excels at so many unmeasurable things!

Jarica

says:

Thanks for this post! What a great reminder!

Kadonna

says:

What a great reminder!

Ashley Pittman

says:

You could add imagination to this list. Unfortunately, for those who don’t test well, even the things that the tests are supposed to measure aren’t necessarily measured accurately.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for your comment, Ashley! We added “imagination” to the “More Tips from Our Readers” box!

Merry at AALP

says:

Oh, good one! Sadly, one test my daughter took had a question that I felt tested *against* imagination. It asked if we could call a table by another (made up) word, and the student was supposed to choose “if we all agree to call it that.” But the answer my 8 year-old chose was, “if the table told us to call it that.” The question showed up again the next year; I was sad when she got it “correct.”

silver

says:

We have to test because of state regulations. But I don’t tell my kids their results. I don’t want them to get defeated *or* puffed up. I tell them the results are for me to see how they’re doing and if there are any areas I need to help them with.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

That’s a good way to explain the test results to your children, silver! Thanks for sharing!

Dana Maya

says:

I have recently read a couple disturbing articles on testing in regards to reading comprehension and vocabulary. They are usually computer generated and are so focused on details that often the big picture is missed. Tests don’t measure how a child may internalize a story and relate it to their own life or how some may bear no relevance at all. Testing is huge reason why I homeschool. I was always good at tests, but my son is a much more creative thinker and sometimes chooses wrong answers on purpose just to be silly or see what happens.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You bring up a good point, Dana. When students know that they will be tested for reading comprehension (where minor details are emphasized over the big picture), they often read in a different way. In their effort to try to remember the details, the big picture is missed, as you point out.

Jaime B

says:

I think this is so fitting. I know the day will come when we will need to implement some testing, but fortunately we aren’t there yet! And as long as we homeschool, we will be able to place proper emphasis on these other means of “testing”. :)

Heather

says:

Tests can’t measure how amazing our kids are!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Heather, we added your comment to the “Reader’s Tips” box at the bottom of the blog post. Thanks!!!

Shannon

says:

The excessive levels of testing are one of the many many reasons we have chosen to homeschool! Our state is even considering adding 25 days to the elementary calendar to make up for the lost instructional time. Our kids, and teachers, are so much more than what a “standard” anything can show. Thanks for the reminder to focus on what makes us who we are and not what a series of numbers may or may not say.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for sharing this extra information about testing in your state. You are so right–our kids and teachers are so much more than the tests results!

Julie

says:

Thanks for speaking to my heart and reminding me that it’s not about what a test can show.

Kate

says:

I loved this post, and I so needed this reminder :). I have a struggling reader, and sometimes I worry about him or even feel frustrated. But he is one of the sweetest, most generous little boys…. And that’s so much more important! (By the way, we got out All About Reading kit in the mail today and jumped into Lesson 1! It was so nice to see him enjoying learning… And I enjoyed it, too!)

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Kate! I’m happy to hear that your struggling reader enjoyed his first lesson in All About Reading! If you ever hit a roadblock with the lessons, please feel free to contact us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976. We’re here to help!

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