ERB Testing Returns


Madison Kim, Staff Writer

The Educational Records Bureau (ERB) test returned to the Middle Division (MD) this week for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic. Unlike in the previous years when the test was administered only to the sixth grade,  the entire MD tested this year. The MD uses the ERB testing to gather useful data on all of the students in the division and the curriculum across all three grade levels. 

The ERB tests are important because they provide the students with the opportunity to practice taking a standardized test under conditions they will likely experience throughout their academic careers according to Mr. Kahn. Taking this type of test is a skill that can be improved through practice and exposure. Second, these assessments provide the school with additional data on how the students are doing across the board. As the school look at results alongside the curriculum, they can see if there are areas we wish to strengthen.

The last ERB tests that were administered at the school took place in the spring of 2019, when the current middle school students were in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. As such, none of the results from the 2019 testing provides data points on the current MD, so Head of MD Javaid Khan, with the support of the MD faculty, made the important decision to administer the tests this year. 

The entire MD faculty took a crucial role in the ERB testing as proctors in the administration of the testing. Additionally, due to the fact that the tests this year were online for the first time, the technology department also played a crucial role in the success of the administration of the ERB testing. 

“Taking the ERB tests on the iPads were better because it was quicker and less intimidating,” Eri Flores (8) said. “They were less intimidating because seeing a book and everything in front of you is very overwhelming.” Flores also said that taking the ERB on the iPads was better as it was more helpful to pace herself because there was a timer on the screen. 

Caroline Mignone (7) does not mind the ERBs, but would much rather have her regular classes instead of skipping them for these standardized tests, she said. 

Bea Monti (8) does not enjoy taking the ERB test; however, she uses it as an opportunity to see where she excels in a certain skill set, she said. While going through the test, she was able to see which questions were easier and more difficult and where she could assess her skills and see which areas she can work on. “I find it quite difficult to sit down for three hours glued to a screen, filling out answers,” she said. 

Like Monti, other MD students do not enjoy taking the ERB tests. Maddy Pope (8), for example, believed that the tests were too long and crammed, as they were taking two different tests every day for one week from Monday to Thursday. 

Josh Bitton (8) believes that the school has not prepared students well enough for the ERB tests. It was sprung onto them and students did not have time to prepare. Additionally, Bitton believes that the MD curriculum has not prepared them well enough for the difficult questions on the test. 

Jack Rosenberg (7), on the other hand, enjoys the ERB test because he does not have homework or tests this week, he said. “It’s boring and I was not nervous to take it, even though it’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be.” 

Other middle schoolers have mixed feelings about the ERB tests returning. While the ERB tests can be stressful, they also provide a break from schoolwork, Maya Yoon (8) said. 

The tests were better this year than the ERB tests Pope took in the Lower Division, she said. Mainly, she said the ERB tests in the Middle Division were better because they didn’t have to go through each question with their teacher and class, they had more freedom to go at their own pace and return to questions on their own. 

Pope believes that the ERB tests are important for the school and the government. “It is good to expose the students to standardized tests to prepare us for the future,” Pope said. 

Flores also thinks that the administration of the ERB tests is important for the school. “They can use the statistics to modify the school curriculum; however, not as important for the students themselves,” she said. 

ERB tests are also important for the government to show the ranking of the school and to see if the teachers are teaching the students correctly, Bitton said. 

If Flores could change a few things about the administration of the ERB tests, he would spread the ERB tests out more so it would not be so overwhelming for the students. Bitton wishes that the school would prepare students more for the standardized test, as he felt that he did not know the answers to many of the questions.