Home > Standardized Testing > Standardized Testing; Saving Grace or Devil’s Advocate?

Standardized Testing; Saving Grace or Devil’s Advocate?

                It may have started out to help out schools, but somehow ended up being something that has teachers skeptical of their jobs.  With no state without rules and regulations for tests, thanks to No Child Left Behind; all students, no matter race, gender, or handicaps must take these tests in order for the state to give their schools more or less funding.  So should funding for our schools be based on test scores or actual grades and participation?   Some of the major problems I see in standardized tests are the curriculum map, the stress it has on our children,  The fact that every child takes the same exact test, the fear installed in our teachers and the monopolization of funding. 

                One of the positive aspects of standardized testing (according to http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/16137.aspx) is it gives teachers guidance to help them determine what to teach students and when to teach it. The net result is less wasted instructional time and a simplified way of timeline management.  However, most of us would see this as a more negative effect.  Because teachers are going by what they should teach, they neglect the many things that are not on the test material, therefore leaving our children further behind in the system. 

                The stress of testing is also a huge impact on today’s students.  Because the results of the tests reflect on teachers and the school, schools have done away with recess.  In most cases this is a student’s only time to unwind and interact with peers.  With this taken away we take the chance of letting our children stress even more about the standardized tests.   

                Another problem with No Child Left Behind is that every student has to take the same exact standardized test.  This is to promote equality in the classroom, however, it is somewhat discouraging to the disabled and the ethnic.  Although some might be able to, most kids in a special needs classrooms cannot do the same work as one in a regular class.  Therefore, having them take the same test will make the disabled feel somewhat uncomfortable.  The tests are in America, making them given in English.  No matter how many people want to argue that “they came to our country, they can learn our language” is not valid; this is America, a melting pot of culture.  A lot of recently immigrated aliens speak little to no English,consequently, their kids speak none, are they expected to take an exam in complete English and understand what they are doing? This does nothing but intimidate a young child.  I believe they should be given an option in what language they are able to take the test in.  This is bound to improve the scores of states with lots of Hispanic children.

                Teachers have admitted to doing anything to improve the test scores, even resorting to cheating.  With the consequences of low performance on tests, lower salary and competency tests for example, it’s no wonder that teachers feel like they are forced to do something about the scores.  Teachers need to feel secure in their jobs to be able to have a good impact on our children’s education.  With good and bad teachers out there, we assume standardized test grades are the only way to decipher them apart.  I agree we need to get rid of those teachers that lack passion and aren’t good teachers.  But seems to me as if we can see who those are by grades in the class, and students input.  Making all teachers fear for their jobs isn’t a way to improve standardized tests scores. 

                I believe the lack of funding to those schools with lower test scores is somewhat unfair.  First off, it is more likely for a lower income school district to have lower scores rather than a higher income district.  Thus cheating the lower income districts out of much needed funds because they weren’t able to raise their test scores.  In most cases, this turns out to be a continuous cycle in which these districts never get the funding to have a chance at getting their scores up. 

                In general, standardized testing isn’t a bad thing.  It can predict how well the child has progressed in the school year.  And knowing this can help the kids that aren’t doing so well, get more focus from their teachers.  But when the tests become the priority over everything else that the kids need to learn, there’s a problem.  The children should be put first, they should all be given the same equal chance with individual priorities; because everyone is special in their own way.  This is America, and they are our future.

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Categories: Standardized Testing
  1. Student
    December 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I find this post very interesting. I disagree with funding and a teachers job being based on a test. You can give every student the same test because alot of students learn slower, are even a few grades behind in learning. Then you give them a test that they can’t even understand? This doesnt help at all. The “no child left behind” law, sounded good when they first developed it. Now it just seems like a useless cause. I think its awful that a teacher feels like they have to cheat, just to keep test scores up for funding or there job. I would hate to feel like that about my job. I agree with your last paragraph. I think testing isnt horrible, but it should not be held to a degree that if you do bad, you get no funding, or if your teachers fail at teaching the students, then they lose their job. This is unfair to our students and our teachers. Learning should be fun and enjoyable, but the stress that standardized testing puts on the teachers and students, takes all the fun out of it.

  2. Brittany
    December 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I think that all schools should be funded with the same amount of money, no matter what test scores are. It might not be all the students fualt that their test scores are low. Most of the blame should go on the teachers, teachers should not resort to cheating on the standardize tests. They should teach the students the things that they need to know, and help the slower learning students so that they will get a better test score. I also agree that standardize testing isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldnt be stressful all year for the students and shouldnt lead to cheating.

  3. chris
    December 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I agree that testing should not determine how much money a school distric gets. I can understand why teachers would do what they need to do to get the grades up; but that does not help matters none. what needs to be done is find out why the schools are doing bad in the first place. what we can do is modify the test that is being given to accomidate each childs specific need, so that we can really find out what they are learning. If this means finding someone that is specifically trained to work with those students. once we find out what they need we can use that information to help the teachers,so they will be more capable of teching our children. if you get right down to it they are not any bad teachers. There only some teachers with some problem causing them to do and teach the way they are. stop and think about it, do you think that our teachers went to collage to be something that they would not like? NO. they sure didnt do it just for the money. so why did they become teachers? its because they have to love kids, and want them to have something great out of life and that is an education. now lets get back to the problem at hand. once we find out what our children need we can start giving them what they need. If the teacher is not trained enough to help them with what they need we can find some training that will get them to the point they need to be.when it is all said and done all we really want is for our children to have a good education.

  4. English Student
    December 9, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Standardized testing is bad. The teachers, instead of teaching what students should know, teach to the test. They have certain restrictions and guidelines they have to follow so they meet the expectations of the government. The schools can also find loop holes to “improve” their scores. The state gets money for education if their education improves so they will do anything to see that schools improve. This may even mean they cheat. Some states may lower the standards of their schools so that it looks like they have shown improvement. In what way does this improve education!? The focus on education has been lost. Teachers should be able to teach what they want in order to create successful students. With restrictions this is impossible. America is in an educational decline when compared to other countries. Standardized testing has not fixed this problem and will not. We need to find a new way to judge teacher accountability and to see how students do. There are many options that the government has to reform education. It is not an easy task and is one that will always need constant improvement.

  5. E Wilson
    December 9, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I agree with your argument and I like the way you said it. Schools that have low test scores should not be given less funding because they are doing badly they should be given more so they can actually be able to fix the problem, but then again if they did that their might be schools that get bad scores so they can get more funding. I also agree with what you said about standardized tests being a good thing but they should not have as much weight as they do. The tests are a good way of measuring were a student is at and to see what he might need a little extra help in. Instead it is used to see if the school and the teachers are good and that is not fair at all.

  6. Kayla
    December 10, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I completely agree with you when you talk about all students having to take the exact same test. Students can not be evaluated accurately if they are given a test extremely hard for them, or way to easy for them. All students should be challenged to do their best, but not pushed so much that they are headed for failure and they feel unsuccessful. Another point that you made that I agree with is that students are given to much stress. Starting with your first day of school you hear your teacher continuously talk about how good you have to do on your standardized test at the end of the year and students should not be given that stress at such a young age. I like how you argue about the funding. Schools that have low test scores should get just as much or much funding than other schools so that they can get the proper equipment that they need and may not have. Students can have a wonderful teacher and learn nothing because that teacher has nothing to teacher with. Teachers can not be evaluated from the test scores. Only the student can be evaluated. I believe that students should not be judged by only the test they took that year, but check to see if their scores are coming up year after year.

  7. Nicole
    December 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I believe that standardized testing is completly useless. Really it doesn’t tell us anything. Teachers are indeed put under a lot of stress by trying to get to where they are supposed to have taught by testing. When teachers stress their students stress because no student reacts well to being nagged at constantly. Every student is different, some kids learn with their ears others with their eyes and a large percentage with hands on activities. Every student should be given an equal opportunity to learn. Testing really doesn’t tell us anything, if a student is being rushed through material how are they supposed to retain it all? That is what is bringing the test scores down. Teachers not spending enough time in certain areas and barely scratching the surface in others. I believe that if they are going to test the students over what they have learned that they should try to fit less into the tests. Students will achieve much higher grades if they have to retain less.

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