Standardized Testing is Bad
The most debatable attempt at education reform over the past few years is by far the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), passed by the Bush Administration during his first term as President. The NCLB was geared toward making all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade perform at or above their actual grade level by the year 2014. As should have been realized, that isn’t possible due to some students just slacking and not wanting to perform well. However, the goal could nearly be reached, but some changes would need to be made to the NCLB.
One of the guidelines that have been debated over the past few years is that states are required to produce an Annual Yearly Progress report on student progress. If a state fails to show progress over that year, the state’s finances for the school systems get penalized. This encourages the school systems to make sure that they are performing at the best level possible. The bad side of this law is that when students do not improve on their test scores and the funds get cut, the student’s education suffers even more because less money is available for the operation and improvement of education in that state. This doesn’t make sense because if a state isn’t doing well, the solution to that problem isn’t cutting the funding; they should receive more funding to produce a better education for the students.
According to the department of education, each state individually makes up the test which is administered to each of the students. With the states making up their own test, this means that they have control of what gets placed on the tests and just how complicated the test questions are. This is why, according to the department of education, by 2004 the gap between African American, Hispanic, and White students in reading and math was finally closing. With this law, the flaws are numerous. This guideline is one that should have never been placed in the NCLB act. All states need be required to administer the same tests which would create an accurate increase in education for the entire United States.
Any parent who knows that their child’s school system is continuing to perform better each year, naturally are going to continue to send their children there. If a parent learns that the students aren’t performing better each year at the school that their child attends, they are going to assume that the school isn’t doing their job well and switch their children to a school that is. Whether or not the states are dropping the standards for the tests, no one knows but them. However, they have the opportunity to do so and this problem needs to be addressed and corrected.
There is also the argument that the scores are increasing because the NCLB focuses mainly on testing in reading and mathematics. According to an article in the online School Library Journal, student’s math and reading scores have actually risen over the past few years. With the NCLB putting more emphasis on reading and mathematics, then the Department of Education can focus the teaching criteria primarily on those subjects. The bad side to this guideline is that other subjects such as the sciences are getting less attention and the students are falling behind in these areas. There is an easy fix to this problem also. The NCLB needs to expand the testing to focus equally on all the subjects. With the states putting equal emphasis on all subjects, the schools will have improve their teaching to focus strongly on all subjects.
If the federal government at least regulated what the tests consist of, that would satisfy a lot of people and would show if the schools were truly performing better each year. However, they still need to expand the testing emphasis past just reading and math because there are lots of job opportunities available that require knowledge in other subjects. Education Reform in our country is in fact one of the most debatable topics that can be brought up. Even though many disapprove of the NCLB act, it can still be partly successful. Education isn’t going to improve with everyone arguing about what needs to be done to improve it either, we need to get the United States on track to becoming a better educated country. Of course, 100 percent proficiency rate isn’t possible with some students unconcerned about education, but with a few changes to the NCLB act, it can be very successful.