Home > Standardized Testing > What Was Your Percentile?

What Was Your Percentile?

Not many people seem to agree with standardized testing. I am one of those people. There are too many factors that can effect the outcome of any type of test, especially one that is so important. Many people suffer from test anxiety, and that shouldn’t determine if they get into college. Due to what standardized tests can help determine, they should be looked at, and taken out of schools as much as possible to improve school systems.

Though I agree with the goal standardized tests are trying to reach, they definitely aren’t doing it in a sound way. A lot of times, standardized tests are considered to be boring and a waste of time. From this, students perhaps fall asleep during the test, or simply don’t try. I have heard a countless amount of people say that they did not even take the time to read the questions. These are the people that do not understand the purpose of them. When I was in high school, no one ever talked about the importance of a standardized test, the most we heard about them was we needed to pass them in order to graduate, or something along those lines. If someone would have taken the time to explain the purpose of a standardized test, more students might have cared how it could effect them.

Another issue with standardized testing is test anxiety. Test anxiety is said to be a type of performance anxiety which is “a feeling someone might have in a situation where performance really counts or when the pressure’s on to do well,” by http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/test_anxiety.html. Some people simply can’t deal with the stress that tests of this size can cause. According to http://pages.prodigy.net/bderoes/bourne.html, and at least thirty percent of people suffer from test anxiety at one time or another. Though that might not seem like a lot, that is 30% of people who might not pass a test due to something they can’t control. For those students who fall into that category, standardized tests become something they grow to hate. That fact will only make their anxiety worse.

People who are for standardized testing argue that they are necessary because they are said to score the test taker in a fair and consistent way, according to http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea5lk3.htm. This is true based on the fact that standardized questions ask the same types of questions, are said to be administered in the same way, and are scored in the same way. However, even those simple attributes are said to not be entirely true. According to http://www.fairtest.org/whats-wrong-standardized-tests, the only objective part of a standardized test is the scoring in which is done by a machine. Other than that, there are differences between the tests, the way in which they are given, and how fair that actually are. Each test has the same types of questions, but they vary by test version. Each test administrator reads the rules of the test to the test takers, but how they deliver those rules is at their discretion. They generally just read them straight out of the booklet, but even their attitude while reading them can effect a test taker.

A big problem people have with standardized tests are knowing if the test scores are actually reliable. Tests are said to be reliable only when you get the exact same results the second time you administer it as the first. Fair Test, states that all existing tests have “measurement error,” which means that due to conditions such as a person’s emotional and mental states, their score may vary on a day to day basis. If this is the case, then no standardized test is going to be able to tell you anything about a persons knowledge base or amount of intelligence, so there is no point in having the test to begin with.

Standardized tests make for a quick and easy grading, but there are advantages of more complex tests. Grading tests may be time consuming but if multiple choice tests are always used, the teacher won’t be able to really understand how a student is doing. Sometimes students simply guess, and from a standardized test, that wouldn’t be known. If a student has to show their work or explain how they know something, then the teacher will have more feedback from what they have taught in their classroom, and how well their students have interpreted that information. From this, you can see that it would be worth the extra time for a teacher to make a test that could obtain that kind of information.

Standardized testing does not measure a person’s intelligence, or what they have learned accurately and dependably. It is more of a hit and miss kind of situation that many are starting to doubt. There are several things that make people question the effectiveness of standardized tests, such as, objectivity, reliability, and usefulness. There are now some places that are trying to do away with standardized testing, but it is still used a lot. The schools in which it is still being used could be suffering.

 

Sources:

 

http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/test_anxiety.html.

 

http://pages.prodigy.net/bderoes/bourne.html

 

http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea5lk3.htm.

 

http://www.fairtest.org/whats-wrong-standardized-tests

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Categories: Standardized Testing
  1. Akil Bello
    December 7, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Would you support getting rid of all situations in which people must perform under pressure? Is not the workplace a high pressure environment? What if Kobe could not hit free throw in the clutch? Should we give him a ring anyway?

    Performance under pressure is an intrinsic part of any job and the lack of said performance cannot be used and an excuse. A soldier who could not fire a gun when in a face off with an enemy would be removed from active duty, why would we tolerate any less in our scholars? Should not a scholar be required/expected to think under pressure?

    As for the margin of error on the SAT and college entrance exams, have you researched the test makers positions on that? The test makers acknowledge the standard error and tell colleges and students that difference of ability are only indicated outside of those rangs. Its the colleges that misuse the test data but putting undue onus on small differences in test scores. According to the college board usage guidelines a math score of 550 and 580 should be considered equal. So are we blaming the test now for the misuse of its results?

    http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/scores/sat-data-tables

  2. Jeri Herbig
    December 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I have to agree with Akil Bello on the fact that performance under pressure is an intrinsic part of any job, but in saying tha,t school is not a job. It is the self motivation to want an education. Up to a certain point kids have to go to school, but eventually it is their decision. I do not agree with standardized testing myself. I feel that they are a waste. I do not believe that they benefit in any sort of way. I am a very bright individual, but when it comes to standardized test I second guess myself on questions I undoubtfully know. The questions standardized test ask are irrelevant to the real world and how well a person is “educated”. As jlkelly02 mentioned, the lack of enthusiasm the test brings to the classroom highly effects the way the test is taken. Some teachers make it an actual grade, but some teachers throw the grade out. This being said, for those teachers that throw the grade out, students are more apt to just rush through, fill in answers, and not take them time complete the test properly. Therefore, the end result is that there will never be an accurate calculation on education as a whole. Istead of education be a nationwide ordeal, I feel it should become part of a district deal where schools perform at there best simply for the benefit of the students. Focus more on small groups and a bigger impact will be made.

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