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Standardized Testing: Is it really needed?

Everybody has taken some form of standardized testing during their educational careers. You are told about this very important test and your teachers and/or professors prepare you for weeks for this one test. The tests also deal with your future educational plans. Colleges and Universities look at your scores for admission to their schools and if it’s not high enough, they won’t let you in. So you’re freaking out and preparing yourself for this test because it’s so important. I remember taking the ACT my junior year and having the feeling that your future would be ruined if you couldn’t ace this huge test. Does standardized testing really show a student’s potential? Are these tests actually helping education or making it worse?

In “Standardized Testing for Outcome Assessment: Analysis of the Education Testing Systems MBA Tests” by Robert E. Wright talks about how a certain group of top students were actually missing some of the questions that were supposed to be just basic questions. https://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=7af1c70b-4ae7-481a-a66a-382447411d69%40sessionmgr104&vid=11&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eric&AN=EJ917208 It said that in the marketing part of the test, the top 5% of students were only getting 69% of the questions right so how are these basic questions? In this article Wright says the problem might not be the MBA students but the company that they got their tests from which was the Educational Testing Service or ETS.  He also describes how if the students and professors were evaluated with this test, then the professors are going to try really hard to make sure the students score their best. So they would just be teaching them how to take this certain type of test. They wouldn’t be focused on what’s going on in the class but making sure they do well on the test. Wright also talks about how these professors have discussed and taught these students the whole semester and then they are supposed to give a test designed by “outside experts”. This test is made up of 5 subparts which lasts about 36 minutes, but how can this test sum up what was taught the whole semester? If they are only 36 minutes each and you have this class 3 to 4 days a week for an hour, that just doesn’t seem very fair for them to judge from these test results. You also have to think of how much information that would be on these short subparts. It could be anything from that semester which would be a lot for one to study for!

Also standardized tests are supposed to be just general knowledge questions so they figured that everyone should get them correct, this is one of the reasons why people support the tests. They think that it fairly shows everyone’s general knowledge in an easy way. However, these tests are not very creative when it comes to their questions. So when students answer these questions with creative answers some will be looked at as “difficult to understand, resulting in cognitive bias” http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED506193.pdf .  In Dodge’s essay, “Heuristics and NCLB Standardized Tests: A Convenient Lie”, he explains that these tests are considered an “availability heuristic” because they are a simple and easy way to test children. He also says that they are “over-simplified” and that they are supported because of this. I can see where he is coming from on this point because some people think outside of the box more for certain questions and if it’s not what is written to be the answer the student can get it wrong.

Many students are looked at differently from colleges and scholarships because of these test scores, but many just have test anxieties and have trouble taking the tests. Many kids today go through various forms of stressful situations that can cause them to have trouble taking these tests. These can be anything from the tests themselves to things that are happening outside of school. In the article, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Standardized Test- Taking Ability”, the authors discuss how stressful situations affect people’s test taking abilities. It’s not fair that everyone is judged the same when each person has different stressful situations. https://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=7af1c70b-4ae7-481a-a66a-382447411d69%40sessionmgr104&vid=6&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eric&AN=EJ876303 There is so much pressure put onto students when they take these tests that they forget what they have learned and just go blank during the tests. Then when they get their results back they feel like they aren’t smart because they didn’t score that high. Like I stated earlier, college admissions look at these test scores to determine if the student gets accepted or not. It’s just very stressful for a student.

In conclusion, standardized testing is not helping our education. It stresses the participants out and it’s not very fair. College admissions look at these scores to determine whether the person should be admitted into their campus. This is bad for the people who have test anxieties and have trouble taking tests. It is also bad for the ones who are a bit more creative than the test itself, because their creativity may not be considered correct. All in all, these tests really don’t show one’s potential and it isn’t helping with bettering our education.

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