The Education Department is planning for U.S. participation next year in the TIMSS Advanced global exam on high-level math and physics, according to a notice published today in the Federal Register.
The U.S. does participate regularly in the basic TIMSS test, the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study. That exam is given every four years to fourth and eighth graders around the world. U.S. students in both grades topped the international average in both math and science on the most recent test, in 2011, with fourth graders performing especially well.
Because of the over-testing of students in the U.S., testing seniors is a really bad idea. By the time our students reach 12th grade, they have been tested repeatedly throughout the grades and have never received any feedback and no consequences. As a result, they consistently engage in what teachers refer to as “Christmas-treeing” tests. They simply fill in the dots and go through the motions. I would not want my career riding on the performance of a 12th grader on yet another meaningless test.