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Standardized Testing

Standardized Testing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a part of the education reform established in January of 2002 (Dese.mo.gov). It was supposed to make it so that every child going through the public school system in the United States would be proficient by the year 2012. They would check the progress of each student by standardized testing them. Of course this is impossible, because there is no set bar we can hold every child in the United States to. Each child has his or her own capabilities, and we should expect only the best of what they are able to achieve. Having graduated in 2009, I have experienced standardized testing in its fullest.

In Kentucky, at the end of every school year we would all sit down and take standardized tests based on our current grade. The teachers all knew the subject of the tests, and even a lot of the subject matter. Since their job was directly correlated with how well we all did as a whole, majority of the school year was spent learning the subject matter that would appear on the test, and even taking several practice tests to make sure we all knew how to answer the questions to get the best score as possible. The principle thought it would be great if he could reward us for all our hard work on the tests. He did this by giving us 2 and 3 percent coupons for all the subjects we scored proficient and distinguished in. For instance, if in my 11th grade year I scored proficient on my science test, my 12th grade year I would get a 2% coupon that I could use at the end of my science class to increase my grade from an 88 to a 90. This is insane. I learned nothing but to make sure I answered the questions right so that I could work less in the future.

According to voteiq.com, schools have focused more of their attention on standardized testing. Tests will be given in reading and math from third to eighth grade grades and National Assessment of Education Progress Tests will be given in fourth and eighth grades. It also states that public school systems have sacrificed their standards, their education, and the main goals of NCLB in order to meet the testing requirements mandated for their school.

When it comes to standardized testing, minority students have an even harder time with taking the tests and understanding the content. If the average student that comes from a middle class family has a hard time with understanding the tests and doing well on it, why would a lower class Latino or Hispanic student do well? In most cases, they do not. According to ematusov.gov, Standardize tests are usually biased and should be eliminated at least with minority students. These are students that are adjusting to our culture and trying to figure out how to speak our language and figure out who they are. The last thing they need is to be given a test that they will not understand and told that they must do very well on it. We are only asking for failure from the student.

Many feel that the NCLB should be extended past 2012, but a definite date has not been set. Students have done nothing but decreased academically since the start of NCLB, which is the opposite of its purpose. As long as our country continues to use standardized testing to measure our students capabilities, we will continue to undermine our students real intelligence, and continue to make them feel inadequate. Our teachers should have the freedom to teach the subject matter to their full capability.

Speaking from experience, I know that teachers in the state of Kentucky are told at the beginning of the school year to turn in lesson plans for every day of the academic calendar. After they turn them in they must be approved, and then they are allowed to teach. At various points throughout the school year they will be evaluated, and if they are not teaching from what they turned in for that particular day, they are in trouble. That is not right. Teachers should have complete freedom in their classroom. They should not have to teach students how to take standardized test, and have to memorize the content for these tests. The students end up not learning one thing, and the teachers have to hope that the students help them to keep their job. If students do not test well, the state will bring in their own teachers to help the student to test well. None of this testing helps the student to prepare for college and their test scores do not even show up when they are applying for college. The only purpose of standardized testing is to see how well the school is doing, and to make sure that everyone is at least proficient.

We should write to our legislature and voice our opinion that students are not learning from standardized testing and it is doing more harm than good. We need to let them know that our students and teachers are spending too much time trying to figure out how to get the best scores for no reason other than to keep from having the state come in and tell them how to do so. If our teachers spent this time actually educating about topics in which students will need in order to be successful in college and beyond, students may be more prepared for life.

Categories: Standardized Testing
  1. b. saxon
    December 8, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I believe that what you said about the percentage coupons you receive from your tests is ridiculous you should not be allowed to do that because 2 or 3 percentage points could add up to be a lot depending on how many assignments you have dome in the class and how many points they were worth. Also the testing to minority students I don’t agree with because if you are born in the US or you came here and you are attending a public school you should need to know how to speak and understand English, so if one person has to take the test we all should have to take the test. Yes it may take some time but I know in my high school there was a class period that the minority students all had together so there would be there English class like everyone else has to take, but they can go at their own pace to what the teacher feels they are ready for. Teachers have all different styles in the way they like to teach and for school boards and such that tell them they must teach to the test and must stick strictly to their lesson plans is very hard I believe, because what if one class you spend more time talking about one subject because you want everyone to understand it to their best ability then how can you punish a teacher for teaching their students. But in most schools the teachers are warned before someone comes to evaluate them so they can teach what they are suppose to be teaching for that day.

  2. E Wilson
    December 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I agree that is not the right way to motivate your students to do better. That just tells them if they do good on the standardized tests you don’t have to work as hard to get good grades. I mean Standardized tests are a terrible idea all around they are teaching a generation of children to take tests and they teach them to those tests. so pretty much once they graduate they are going to know how to take tests and they are not going to be able to do anything out in the real world.

  3. ryan l
    December 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

    We need to come up with a different way to evaluate our students all together. There are way to many flaws in standardized testing. For example, not everyone is a good test taker. Then there is the problem of it being one generic test to evaluate thousands of students who think in very different ways. You can’t evaluate all the students with one basic test; well you can but its not going to be accurate by any means. This brings me to the problem of teachers. Teachers are just as big a problem with it if not bigger than the students. They get evaluated on the tests and they know this so they just start teaching to the test, to insure a good evaluation and their job next year. That will ruin the education of the children alone, cause they will not know how to do anything other then take tests cause thats all they were taught how to do in school. We seem to have forgotten that one day it will be the children who are running this country. I for one don’t want this country to be ran by a bunch of test takers that don’t know how to do anything else.. There was an incident in one high school where a teacher copied questions straight form the booklet and gave it to the students for the next day of testing. This teacher cared so much about making sure she was meeting the criteria that she just gave the students the answers to the test to make sure that she was. The school found out, and this teacher was fired and removed from the school district. The school officials sent a letter home with the kids explaining the incident and stated that they were very sorry. So it’s not just the students but the teachers as well. These aren’t the only problems though………..there are also the kids who don’t try. Maybe because all their life they’ve been told they won’t amount to anything, or maybe they are having family problems and the last thing they care about is a test, but whatever the reason is it happens. The test isn’t going to actually show the academic capability of these students. Sure it will the students who are egger to learn and already have there future planned. The only thing it will do for the students who don’t care is discourage them and tell them that they can’t do anything. Which defeats the whole purpose of standardized testing. We need to find a new system to evaluate our students today. If not we are going to find our selves in a mess in the future, and I promise that future is coming! So we need to think now and find different ways to do this. Standardized testing will never work lets face it it sounds good and means well it does but it will only continue to hurt us. Thats why we need to stand up against it and just say enough is enough.

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