The test combines administration of two exams -- the General
Achievement Test, also known as the SAT 9, and the California Standards
Examination. The SAT 9 is given nationally, the other test is given
Caroline Brumm, coordinator of student and program evaluation for
Burbank, said the test is a valuable resource that helps the district
compare how it is doing relative to other districts around the country.
Lindsay Galloway, a fifth-grade teacher at Bret Harte Elementary
School, thinks standardized testing is helpful, especially the SAT 9.
"It's an excellent test," Galloway said. "It's very solid. I've been
teaching for 18 years and this is the best test I've seen."
The test is a good barometer of the achievement of a variety of
students, she said.
"The test is effective because it allows gifted students to show who
they are," Galloway said. "It also does a good job of measuring students'
achievement from one end of the curve to the other."
Patrick Carman, a teacher at John Burroughs High School, said he
thinks too much attention is paid to test scores.
"Standardized testing doesn't give you an understanding of what the
children can do," Carman said. "Instead, it shows you what they can't do,
in comparison to what other kids can't do."
Carman, who used to teach elementary school, said he's seen firsthand
how students' test scores aren't necessarily indicative of their actual
He recalled a former student who scored in the 20th percentile for
reading in second grade, the equivalent of a year below grade level. A
year later, she tested into the 90th percentile, he said.
"Her scores had nothing to do with my teaching," Carman said. "They
base a lot on the tests. Does it give you pertinent information that you
actually need? I don't think so. We'd be better off concerning ourselves
with human lives. Higher test scores will be a natural byproduct of