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Screw Standardized Testing!

Standardized testing has expanded and mutated, like an old creepy creature in one of those  horror movies, to the point that it now threatens to devour our schools whole. People are just sitting there in the audience watching it all happen, not bothering yelling at the screen telling the girl to turn around. To many, the notion of standardized testing is appealing: it measures students by a common yardstick, holds teachers accountable for results, and helps identify where problems lie. However, is this really the way to go about measuring student’s academic abilities?

A standardized test is any examination that’s administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. There are two major kinds of standardized tests: aptitude tests and achievement tests. Standardized aptitude tests predict how well students are likely to perform in some subsequent educational setting. The most common examples are the SAT-I and the ACT both of which attempt to forecast how well high school students will perform in college. But standardized achievement-test scores are what citizens and school board members rely on when they evaluate a school’s effectiveness.

I got information pounded into my skull by my teachers for many of years while I was in high school, I was so pressured to make a good score that I was just memorizing information. Now that I am in college none of it really matters and I see what went wrong in high school. For example, the scientific method, in high school we all learned the steps and knew that they were simple. Well coming to college and taking biology I found that everything I had actually been taught about the scientific method is wrong. It seemed that my high school teachers just try to sugar coat everything to make it simple so you catch on and it looks like they are actually doing something. Teachers shouldn’t just teach to the test they should teach beyond the test and teach good study habits. “Many of the tests that states are introducing under N.C.L.B. contain many questions that require students to merely recall and restate facts, rather than do more demanding tasks like applying or evaluating information,” Mr. Toch writes in his study, which can be found atwww.educationsector.org (Winerip).

Schools need to cut the standardized testing because it’s not the way to learn and test the student’s knowledge. The majority of student’s hate high school because it’s boring but what if the teachers actually taught in a way that let the students learn the information in a way they can relate to, instead of you have to learn this like this by this date. It puts a lot of stress on students and they eventually start to not care.

By the time students graduate from schools and go on to post-secondary education, we expect them to know certain basics. They need to be able to answer math, reading comprehension, writing, and general science questions at a certain grade level, or the school did a substandard job of educating them. While GPAs are important criteria for measuring long-term academic achievement, they can’t tell us how well students know the basics required or if they will perform well in colleges and at any job without having to take remedial classes to catch up to other students.

If schools decide to teach the test instead of letting students explore their options and talents, it should be taken as a sign that the district has made a choice to adhere to a different set of priorities than those of both students and parents. A teach-the-test policy is a red flag for a potential problem since there’s no reason the basics being measured on the test can’t be learned in parallel with pupils’ self-exploration. In this case, standardized tests help figure out whether the schools are effectively teaching the knowledge they’re required to impart to their students.

If a school’s standardized test scores are high, people think the school’s staff is effective. If a school’s standardized test scores are low, they see the school’s staff as ineffective. In either case, because educational quality is being measured by the wrong yardstick, those evaluations are apt to be in error. One of the chief reasons that students’ standardized test scores continue to be the most important factor in evaluating a school is deceptively simple. Most educators do not really understand why a standardized test provides a misleading estimate of a school staff’s effectiveness. They should.

I am not saying all tests are bad but teachers should actually learn about the student and how they learn. This would be very effective, not everyone is the same. One test should not determine whether we are intelligent, anything could happen during that test that would affect the outcome of the score. If schools want to see if their staff is doing their job, install camera, have surprised valuations, don’t base it all of one test because you want your school to look good, think of the student’s futures and whether or not they are actually retaining the information.

Works Cited

“Standardized Tests Under Fire.” CNN US. June 15, 1991. http://articles.cnn.com/1999-06-15/us/9906_15_standardized.tests_1_standardized-tests-sats-guideline?_s=PM:US

Winerip, Michael. “Standardized Testing Face a Crisis Over Standards.” New York Times.March 22, 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/22/education/22education.html

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