Educational Reforms Thru Psychological Testing

Manila Bulletin, September 2, 2001 | Go to article overview

Educational Reforms Thru Psychological Testing


PSYCHOLOGICAL testing has long been an essential tool of educators. In line with the theme of strategic partnership in this Convention, we would like educators to look at psychological test publishers and distributors as your partners in education. For, while educators aim to facilitate learning, testing assists you in understanding your learners, individually and collectively. We help you understand your students' needs, learning styles, inclinations, possible areas of concern, potentials for growth, and so on.

Psychological testing provides a huge and complex range of functions. By becoming more aware of the individual characteristics and personalities of your students in relations to their classmates, to their schoolmates, to their community, you should be better equipped to deal with them.

The Filipino learner should be the focus of educational reforms. Testing provides information about how the students are doing, how prepared they are for their scholastic endeavors, and how they have progressed since the last time they were tested.

For institutions of learning, testing serves important instructional and motivational purposes. The many uses of testing include enhancing student motivation, evaluating learning outcomes, diagnosing strengths and weaknesses of learners in an instructional program, classification and course evaluation. Significantly, educators use test scores to plan the best ways to help their students to learn.

Among the most crucial student evaluation concerns is the need for a learner-centered assessment approach. To ensure success in academic performance, importance should be given to the individual capabilities and needs of learners. From this standpoint, you can view how the learner performs in comparison to his class, his group, his school, his district, his country and even the world.

Students can then be made to realize that their school's testing activities aim to help them perform better by nurturing their individual potentials and by determining their areas for personal growth. Testing would then be perceived, not as a threatening activity not as a contest among schools that would subject the students to "labels,'' but as an interesting, valuable and challenging endeavor that will help to bring out the best of their individual capabilities.

In addition, testing needs to adopt a more wholistic approach. This implies that the assessment activity is concerned not only with the learner's intellectual functioning but also with his socio-emotional functioning, or his personality characteristics, which may directly affect his academic performance. With this approach, the educator can ascertain the best possible ways to deal with the learner on an individual level, and the most feasible way to handle the class, given the group's diversities and commonalities.

In order for assessment to be meaningful, we believe that another testing concern has to be addressed. This is the need to provide prompt and comprehensive reports.

Getting the test reports back quickly will be beneficial to all the parties involved in the testing process, from the students and their teachers, to the guidance counselors and school administrators. By getting the test results quickly, the students learn more about themselves, and can concentrate on their deficiencies. With timely results, their instructors will be able to set realistic goals for them, all within enough time during the school year so that these goals are achievable. Counselors will be able to more quickly spot potentially problematic cases, and act quickly to sort these out, while administrators will be able to more accurately judge the effectiveness of instructional procedures, and remedy whatever deficiencies there may be.

In the past, manual methods of test evaluation necessarily took time and wasted talent. Counselors and school psychologists, who already had very meager staff support to begin with, had to wait until the tests were manually processed by them, or by their staff, before they could begin evaluation and guidance. …

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