It should be assumed that if schools have not introduced specific course material to students that they do not know it. Though some students are privileged to attend special afterschool or external tutoring programs, or may acquire information that is beyond the scope of core academic requirements for any given grade level, that should not be the premise upon which any measure of formal school testing is based….

Testing to see where students “are” is a practice that is merited only when it is utilized for student placement purposes, i.e. placing students who have been previously introduced to the test material and with similarly low scores on the tests in interventive programs to improve their academic performance. An exception is merited here, however, for early learning students entering formal school for the first time, considering that young children are typically exposed to common knowledge that they may be tested on and/or information to which they may have been exposed in child care programs. This should be the only exception…

Otherwise, testing students on material to which they’ve never been introduced can be emotionally harmful or pose detriment to student confidence by making even the highest achieving students feel that they are inadequate, even when knowing that they haven’t been introduced to certain material.

Even collegiate matriculation examinations are or should ALWAYS be based upon material that all students should have learned before graduating from high school.

Testing students on material to which they’ve never been introduced can rightfully be deemed a form of psychological warfare or as conducive to a hostile learning environment, particularly considering the stigma that is placed upon students with low test scores, even when they haven’t been introduced to the material…