Test Preparation and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking

Test preparation is a hot topic with teachers and parents because the costs of student failure seem huge. So it seems to be a good time to write about test preparation and our Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) ­– Thinking Creatively with Pictures and Thinking Creatively with Words.

The immediate question is – should we prepare students to take a creativity test? The author of the TTCT, Dr. E. Paul Torrance, believed the answer was no because test prep may help students achieve entrance into a creative class or gifted program, but preparation could not increase a student’s creativity or determine how creative they can be.

We also believe that students should not be “prepped” prior to taking the TTCT for three reasons.

(1) One of the features of test preparation is that students often learn about how to take a test without increasing their ability to master test content. As a result, students who participated in test prep courses might receive spuriously high test scores that will cause them to be misplaced in a program for which they are not well-suited.

(2) The TTCT is a standardized test. Standardized test situations are prescribed so that all students taking the tests have the same opportunity. In other words, all students should be seeing the test for the first time, and they should all be prepared to do their best without any extra pretest help. On the TTCT, “doing their best” requires focusing on showing the examiner something creative that has never been seen or thought of before. When standardized testing is completed, prescriptive and diagnostic teaching should be used as a means to follow-up with students. In fact, we believe that any standardized test scores should be followed up with explanation and more directed teaching.

(3) When people ask us for test prep materials, we suggest that students and parents review the student’s current test scores and identify areas for improvement. Based on this review, students can focus on acquiring educational materials that will help them succeed in areas where they currently struggle. This kind of preparation will help students become better students not just better test-takers.

For more information on the TTCT, visit our website www.ststesting.com.


Related:

Books by E. Paul Torrance and Torrance Scholars

Development Screening for Early Childhood Readiness

Does your school need a developmental screening tool to help determine early childhood readiness? Then the Comprehensive Identification Process (CIP) is the perfect tool for you.

Appropriate for children between the ages of 2 and 6 1/2 years of age, the CIP helps identify children who may need special medical, psychological or educational assistance to function at their highest possible level upon entering grade school.

The screening process takes 30-45 minutes with children performing a series of tasks at the appropriate age intervals. The development screenings areas include: Cognitive-Verbal, Perceptual Motor, Gross Motor, and Speech and Expressive Language. The CIP screening is designed to give recommendations for follow-up such as a vision or hearing test or a complete medical examination. Because CIP screening results in alternative recommendations, it prevents the labeling of a child; prevents the comparison of the children’s scores; and permits the consideration of overall behavior.

Screening should be done by early childhood professionals or trained paraprofessionals in a preschool or medical setting. Find out why CIP has been a trusted resource for developmental screening in early childhood education. Call us at 1.800.642.6787 to request a CIP Preview Set or to order a full CIP Kit. Available for purchase online, too.

A Parent’s Guide to HSPT

At Scholastic Testing Service, we realize that testing is an issue of great concern to most parents. From September to March every year, we receive inquiries from parents of students who are about to, or have already taken the High School Placement Test (HSPT®). Generally, the issues of greatest concern are test preparation and scoring. The following links provide additional information on those topics.

Questions relating to:
HSPT® Prep
HSPT® Score Distribution

You can also ask a question in the form of a comment here, and we will get back to you.

Are you seeking a new readiness test?

Schools may find that STS' Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are good substitutes for the Metropolitan Readiness Test.

Schools may find that STS’ Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are good substitutes for the Metropolitan Achievement and Readiness Test.

With the retirement of the Metropolitan Achievement and Readiness Tests, we have received numerous calls from educators searching for replacement assessments. We are excited to advise each caller (and often hear a sign of relief in return), that Scholastic Testing Service (STS) offers three assessment tools that will effortlessly replace existing testing programs, provide efficient and reliable score reporting, and integrate seamlessly with current administration procedures and testing windows.

  • The Educational Development Series (EDSeries) is a standardized test battery that provides the most comprehensive coverage of all STS instruments. Featuring a total of nine skill areas, the EDSeries provides fast and useful score reporting, local and national norms, normal curve equivalents and a cognitive skills quotient.
  • The newly revised Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are effective tools for determining a student’s readiness for beginning kindergarten and first grade respectively.  Both KRT and SRT levels of readiness are related to national percentiles and stanines, allowing educators to learn as much as possible about individual student ability as well as group performance.

For more information, educational professionals can request preview copies (below) of KRT, SRT and EDSeries.

STS Common Core Information

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS) established a single set of clear and concise educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. The standards were spearheaded by the states to ensure that high school graduates nationwide are prepared for college coursework or for entering the workforce. The Common Core State Standards help to benefit teachers, parents, and students when there is a common understanding of the knowledge and skills high school graduates are expected to attain.

For the last several years, STS has been working to align our products with the new standards initiative. Our new Educational Development Series (EDSERIES) Forms J/K and the 2014 edition of the School Readiness Test (SRT) have been developed with the CCSS standards in mind to insure maximum coverage. STS’ online Learning Standards Assessment (LSA) offers an item-by-item alignment to the new standards. Each annual edition of our High School Placement Test Technical Report/Supplement will offer customers detailed information about CCSS coverage in the HSPT®. The bestselling Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) is currently being updated to fit the CCSS expectations for kindergarten students.

As we all adjust to the impact of these changes in education, our dedicated customer service staff at Scholastic Testing Service is happy to help you with any questions that may arise regarding STS products and the Common Core State Standards.

Distribution of HSPT® Scores

At this time of year, many 8th graders and their families are making final decisions about which high school they will attend for the following school year. If your prospective high school uses the HSPT® as a part of their admissions process, then making sure your HSPT® scores get where they need to be is a big concern.
While many assume that the HSPT® score distribution system is similar to college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, it is actually quite different. There is no national coding system for the HSPT®. Many high schools test independently, so the results for the students that test there are sent only to that location. In some geographic regions, a cooperative of high schools test collectively, often under the direction of a Catholic diocesan education department. In these cases, students may be presented with the option of sending their scores to several different high schools by coding them on their answer sheet on test day.
Whether your high school tests individually or cooperatively, the distribution of test results to students and their families is always determined by the school or diocese.
If you have not yet received a copy of your test scores, and you believe you should have, or if you need to have your scores sent to another high school, the first step is always to contact the high school where you or your student tested. Because the schools and dioceses determine their own score distribution systems, we can never send results to a student unless the request is made by the school or diocese that administered the test to the student.
STS congratulates all graduating 8th graders on the upcoming completion of their elementary education and wishes them the best of luck as they embark on the adventure of an enriching high school education at any one of the excellent high schools that utilize the HSPT® as a part of their admissions process.

An Update from the 2013 NAGC Convention

Because of our commitment to gifted education, Scholastic Testing Service has been a long-time supporter of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and we are present at every NAGC convention.  Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Convention in Indianapolis. One resounding area of focus was on addressing the needs of high ability learners in today’s classroom. The limited availability of resources, the rollout of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the increasing demand for rigor in curriculum (for all students) has resulted in the need for new/advanced differentiation and talent development for classroom educators, which requires a reexamination of effective strategies and appropriate curriculum for successful use with gifted students.

Another area of focus this year was the CCSS in relation to creativity and gifted education.  Because the new “guidelines” are general in nature and lack specific implications and suggestions for those that work with high ability students, gifted facilitators and administrators must collaboratively advocate for alignment of the CCSS with effective instruction for the diverse population of gifted students in the US.

STS has a range of assessment products for identifying gifted learners of every age.  If you have any questions about how best to employ these assessment tools in your classroom, please let us know.

 

Scott Rich

Assessment Specialist for Scholastic Testing Service, Inc.