Standardized testing: Is it effective? | Teen Ink

Standardized testing: Is it effective?

July 14, 2021
By Anonymous

Standardized testing is used in most schools across the country. All test takers are required to answer a set of questions that usually consist of multiple-choice, true or false, or short-answers. This type of testing is used to show how well a student learned the class material over the period of the course. Even though most schools require standardized testing, I don't think that it accurately measures the knowledge of a student.(C)

There are some subjects, such as literature and poetry, that shouldn't be tested because everybody interprets the pieces differently.(TS1) This narrow approach promotes only two ways of thinking: right and wrong. Binary thinking doesn't allow students to think creatively. It rather forces them to think how the test maker wants them to. Young children are born with creativity and we see that when they are playing and pretending.(SD1) According to Sir Ken Robinson, in Slon’s (2013) article, “by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity” to be creative.(E1) The fundamentals of creation and experimentation are not part of the standardized testing mechanism.

Not to mention socioeconomic backgrounds can play a big role in how students perform in this kind of test.(TS2) In a study conducted by, students from wealthier families score better on standardized tests.(E2) They are more likely to have tutors and experiences that are connected to, aligned with, or support that taking of standardized tests. If students aren’t hungry, sleepy, or stressed because of lack of basic needs, they are more likely to score better on standardized tests than students taking the same tests who are struggling for basic needs.

The test only measures the students' knowledge during a certain amount of time, and it doesn’t go over everything taught but just certain parts of the curriculum. Students have time to study and memorize the material before the test,(SD2) therefore some just regurgitate the information on paper and then forget it afterward. Some students may know what they learned but aren't good test takers and freak out during the test.

Lastly, it causes students to care more about passing the test than learning the material.(TS3) They only care about the grade and not whether they retained the information. It increases cheating on tests, especially since all the tests have the same questions and answer choices. Schools and districts across the United States have been caught cheating— changing test answers or giving their students test problems ahead of time— including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Texas.(SD3) A March, 2011 USA Today investigation showed that the dramatic rise in D.C. test scores was due to cheating, not to effective administration.(E3)

I think standardized testing should be taken out of schools and replaced with something better. Portfolios can be used to evaluate ability and are more reflective of the student. Standardized tests are negative on the students and teachers. Students get stressed out and focus more on passing, not learning. Teacher’s focus on students doing well to show that they are a good teacher, which bumps their school ranking. Schools should pay attention to the development of a student and not the grade they get on one test.

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