At Plato, standardized testing is incorporated into our curriculum to teach our middle schoolers (6th, 7th, 8th grade) valuable test taking skills and prepare them for high school. Because of the project-based approach we follow and our small class sizes, our teachers have a variety of ways to assess our students’ abilities and development that do not include standardized testing. We believe in-depth exploration allows our teachers to focus more on enabling our students to answer questions about the world around them and less on memorization of facts.

Tim Knowles, the chairman of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, which contains one of the largest bodies of research on public school assessment in the country, sums it up this way: “What the standardized test score best predicts is how you’ll do on your next standardized test.”