What Do Standardized Test Scores Actually Tell Us?

And Why You Should Care

Professor Schwartz
6 min readSep 8


There is no other topic in education that causes more controversy than student test scores. Some people hate them and call them racist and others think test scores is the best way to tell if students are learning or not.

But if you want to know the truth about student test scores, keep reading this article.

Is Standardized Testing Necessary?

We cannot get to the bottom of the controversy until we answer this question: “is testing necessary in the first place?”

And the answer is YES.

Schools need standardized testing. And the reason we need standardized test scores is because it provides educators and school districts with a benchmark for student knowledge.

Therefore if the answer is YES, we need testing, then what’s the big deal about student test scores? Is there an underlying problem that we are ignoring?

And that’s what this article is going to explore more in-depth.

What Do the Student Test Scores Tell Us?

What you need to know is that I’ve spent the last 20 years inside the K12 system. I am a former teacher, principal and superintendent and the issue I always had with student test scores was that I didn’t know what the score was supposed to tell me.

You heard me correctly. My students took the standardized test, I received their scores and when I began read them, I had no idea what they meant.

So what are student scores supposed to tell us?

Here’s the answer to that question. The student test scores should tell us how far into the curriculum the students have reached. In order for the test scores to be a benchmark for learning, it should tell you what the student has learned.

For example, if a student takes the English portion of the test, then a 600 score should tell me that a student is reading on a 6th grade literacy level or writing on a 6th grade level.



Professor Schwartz

Performance Coach | Published Author | Recognized 21st Century Expert Educator. For more info: https://leafacademy.org