I don't believe much in standardized tests. And I resent having to pay so much money to ETS to retake the Praxis tests when I have already done so successfully in New Jersey. I also resent the $40 charge to send it to a prospective employer (how much do you think it costs them to send a score?). I have little choice, though, because I want Pennsylvania certification. Beyond the financial considerations, and beyond my frustration with having to prove myself as a competent teacher just because I moved a few miles over the state line... I must admit that I love taking tests.
Call me crazy, but I get excited when sitting down with a bunch of sharp No. 2s in order to prepare for grading and evaluation. It's simply fun for me. I took a diagnostic version of the math section today. 85%!!! As a language arts teacher, I'm thrilled with that score. Once I re-memorize the Pythagorean theorem and the formula for volume, I'll be all set. Next, I'm on to conquer social studies. As a person who could get the Marshall Plan and the Magna Carta mixed up, I have my work cut out for me. Then, science. Last time, my highest score was in the science section. I find this puzzling. I probably won't do more than glance through language arts; if I can't ace that one without studying, I don't deserve certification.
My love of taking tests is particularly contradictory because I was one of the first to get involved with the "opt-out" movement. I don't really believe that high test scores predict success (particularly in the case of classroom teaching, because it is natural charisma and classroom management skills that lay the foundation for a great teaching career). My skepticism about the effectiveness of standardized tests was influenced by the case of a colleague at Lincoln Middle School in Hawthorne, New Jersey. She was a paraprofessional. The students adored her, the other teachers liked her, and her teaching was effective, but she could not for the life of her pass the Praxis. I don't understand why, but it was sad to see her take it again and again with dismal results.
I do think that my high test scores (in the past) should help me get my foot in the door (in New Jersey, it's nepotism that gets feet in doors; in fact, unqualified and incompetent people get their whole bodies through doors because of nepotism in that state), but beyond that, the tests mean little if I don't have common sense, classroom management, and organization skills. And I do. Well, the organization part is a bit challenging (chalk it up to a creative mind), but I manage. I have high hopes that the right employer will come along.