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The History of Standardized Testing

What is standardized testing?  According to Wikipedia:

Standardized tests are tests that that are administered and scored in a consistent, or “standard”, manner. Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner.

There are standardized tests for every level of education.  The origin of the standardized test goes all the way back to 1920.  The U.S. Army used the first standardized test to measure IQ.  The first college to use the tests for admission was Princeton and then Harvard a few years after that.  What eventually became the basis for the SAT and the College Board happened in the mid-1940’s.  Thus the bane of every college student was born!

Testing Today

There are various tests now from Elementary to Middle School and finally High School.  We will not be covering the various tests for post-college.  We will talk about the nationwide core exams that gave numerous families agita.  

Elementary Standardized Testing

The Core Curriculum is a system that was put in place around the country to formalize Math and English. Depending on the state and the grade you might have Science, History and other Technical Subjects.  There is growing pressure from various groups that are against the Core Curriculum.  We won’t debate if it is good or bad.  It is here and my state uses it.  My children take the tests and will take them when given.  All I can tell you on a personal level is that my youngest son took his first core curriculum exams this past year in the third grade.  He did well.  

Advanced Learning Program or Gifted Program

My youngest son was selected to the Advanced Learning Program in our City.  It is quite competitive and only 25 kids or so are selected every year going into fourth grade.  There are various factors that they use to select each child. 

Here are a few factors:

1)     Scored 94% or above on the STAR Grade 3 ELA assessment.
2)     Scored 94% or above on the STAR Grade 3 Math assessment.
3)     Received a national percentile score of 99, 98, and 97 on the InView Test of Cognitive Skills.
4)     Received the top score in his or her homeroom on the Renzulli-Hartman Creativity Index.

How it works

Every child who is considered for the program must excel at each of the above.  The children that are selected each have a number of the factors in their favor.  If there are for example five factors and the child has all of them he is automatically chosen. Then if there is more space after that, they look at kids that achieve four factors, three factors and so on.  

As you can see standardized testing is now implemented in early Elementary School.  Let’s see what is done in Middle School.

Middle School Standardized Testing

My daughter is going to enter the seventh grade this fall of 2017.  She had her first round of Middle School Core Curriculum Tests this past Spring.  There are again two tests of Math and ELA.  The tests are given in consecutive weeks. Three days for Math and three days for ELA.  There are lots and lots of reviewing leading up to the tests by her teachers.  Stressful for teachers, parents and the children.  To a certain extent, I think this is good.  

Advanced Learning and Gifted Programs

In our City, there is only Advanced Learning for the fourth and fifth grades.  Once you get to Middle School there really isn’t any cohesion where all the advanced kids stick together.  More often than not, those kids are put in the same classes because they are smart.  It’s just there is NO class just for them.  Outside of regular school, there is Standardized Testing as well.

CTY or not CTY that is the Question

The Center for Talented Youth is a program for gifted children started by Johns Hopkins University in the late 1960’s.  Gifted Children are selected based on various standardized tests.  Depending on the age group from Elementary to Middle School, there are different tests that you can take to gain admission.   There are some impressive alumni of CTY.  Co-founders of Facebook and Google!!!  This is no joke and a real program that has real results for Gifted Children.  

Here is sample list of the Standardized Tests

Those are only a small handful of the tests that are used for the admission process.  Here is the full list below. There are two pages so make sure to hover over the bottom of the figure to access the second page. Johns Hopkins CTY Tests

Why Prep for CTY

CTY is an amazing program that has online courses and summer courses as well.  If you take a test and do well in both sections, math and verbal you are able to attend during the summer.  If you only qualify for one section and not the other you can take classes online.  There are some great classes you can take and I urge you to take a look at the course offerings here.

My Daughter is Taking…

My daughter will be taking the SSAT.  The Secondary School Admission Test.  Since she is going into seventh grade we decided that it would be a good option to take.  We looked into the SCAT test but there really wasn’t much study material for that test.   If you do a quick search you will find some online courses but they are all expensive.  We looked on Amazon and there really isn’t any books for the SCAT Test.  

After doing more research we found adequate Study Guides on Amazon for the SSAT.  The test is given fairly regularly and is an accepted Test by CTY.  The online classes that I have found are fairly expensive.  The classes are actually more expensive than many online SAT and ACT classes!

FYI for the SSAT

Here a couple of books that we bought on Amazon. 


My daughter is going through the Princeton Review book right now so we will update her progress as she goes through it.

Finally, there is financial aid available.  Look into it and do your due diligence.  My daughter’s friend went this summer and absolutely loved it.  That makes my daughter want to go next summer even more.  


Depending on what part of the country you live in will usually dictate what test you take.  That doesn’t mean you have to take one test over the other.  Living in the Northeast and growing up here as well most everyone takes the SAT.  Things are changing, and more kids are taking the ACT.  It really is up to the student to choose which one works best for them. 

What is the SAT?

This is the granddaddy of ALL Standardized Tests.  There were approximately 1.7 million test takers this year.  The most in the history of the SAT!   A perfect score is now 1600, back to what it was when I was growing up.  The essay portion is now “voluntary”.  However, many of the most competitive colleges and universities “recommend” that you take the essay and send the scores to them.  Each school is different so please look up on their websites to see what requirements the schools have for admission.  

The Nitty Gritty 

The test is two sections, math and reading and writing.  The Math Test focuses in-depth on three essential areas of math: Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Heart of Algebra, and Passport to Advanced Math. The verbal section is broken into two sections, the Reading Test, and the Writing and Language Test. To read in detail what is on the test check out the College Board’s actual site here.  There are numerous sites all over the web giving you advice on everything.

  • How to study
  • Where to study
  • What to Eat
  • How much to sleep
  • What to bring on the day of the test.

As a parent, it is your job to research, research and do more research.  Tiger parenting is about being proactive. This is your job so take it seriously.  Getting a great score is a team sport and you’re the Coach.  Make a plan and put it into action.  Give it to your Tiger mom and your child and be of one mind and go for it!  (I will have a complete article on how and what he did to prepare for the SAT)

The American College Test (ACT)

The other College Admission Test is the ACT.  This test started out only a few years after the SAT was formed. Today it has about the same amount of test takers every year.  All 4-year colleges and universities in the USA accept the ACT test. 

The Breakdown

There are four sections to the test and the scores range from 1 to 36.  Here are the four sections: Math, English, Reading and Science Reasoning.  There is an essay portion as well that scores from 1 to 36 but it does not affect the score just like the SAT.  For greater in-depth information read the whole Wikipedia page.  There is a composite score that gives you the final average score of all four sections. 

This is an overview of all the Standardized Tests that my children have a direct relationship with for their studies.  I am sure there are more out there but I can only give advice on what I know first-hand.  For example, there is a Duke extra gifted program for children as well.  I’m not sure what the requirements are for that.  If anyone has first-hand knowledge of that please let me know.  If you’d like to write up an article to share we would love to publish that as well.  

High School Kids Resources for Standardized Tests:

The first is Prep Expert the online course that my son took for his SAT Prep read the article hereFollow the link here to get a discount of $200 by putting in TigerPrep200.

A second option is a good option that is very affordable and quite good.  There is a limited free trial being offered right now.  Follow the link below.

7-day FREE trial for the Redesigned SAT study prep at No commitment!

Both options offer SAT and ACT Prep Courses.  Very top notch and highly recommended.


Elementary and Middle School Resources for Standardized Tests:

In true Tiger Dad and Tiger Mom fashion here is a program that was developed by Stanford University to really help your children excel academically.  Follow the link below.
Advance a Full Grade This Summer at

Another program that I found useful for kids from elementary to middle school is Thinkster Math. I know Math is the one subject that terrifies kids the most and some parents as well.  Read more by following the link below.

 Don’t let your child fall behind. Thinkster Math boosts scores & confidence. Learn more today!

Lastly, I found a site that was started by Moms.  I’m not sure if they’re Tiger Moms but they’ve built a site that is good.  Read about it some more at Testing Mom.