The argument against Standardized Testing
Many students, educators, as well as parents point to the many problems with how these tests are created and administered, and how the results are used. Proponents of standardized testing in schools argue that it is the best way of comparing data from a diverse population, allowing teachers to digest large amounts of information quickly. Opponents of this system of testing claim that it makes teachers too fixated on the scores and preparing for these tests. Standardized tests are ineffective and should be eliminated from the education system. One major argument against standardized testing is that the tests do not value creativity. In many districts, high test scores are considered as the most important indicators of school performance. As such, school administrations and teachers are under immense pressure to ensure that the students’ test scores increase.
To some of the teachers, the stress is too much to the point of making them “teach to the test. ” This form of teaching narrows the school curriculum and forces the teachers and students to focus on memorizing isolated facts rather than developing fundamental and higher order abilities5. For instance, some teachers often stress on some lessons and refer to them as “important” lessons because some content taught in those lessons are covered in the tests. As such, most of the systems change and narrow the curriculum to match the testing8. As a result, some schools in various districts are eliminating or cutting back on programs in arts, subject areas such as science, the use of literature in the early grades, discussions about current events, class meetings, electives for high school students, and recess for children.
For this reason, standardized testing is severely impacting on the school systems and the content covered in schools. Another reason why standardized testing should be scrapped is the time and high costs associated with the testing. Starting with an example, in 2015, the Arizona governor, Doug Ducey budgeted $18. In some charters and districts, the benchmark assessments are administered every week and every other month. This is time-consuming and costly to the schools. The time spent to administer these tests could be channeled to other important learning programs that would impart useful knowledge to the students. Furthermore, when these standardized tests are administered frequently, they create anxiety in many of the students every time they have to take another standardized test11. The amount of time that schools dedicate to the preparation and administering of the standardized tests leaves the schools and students with little time for group projects, critical thinking, class discussions, and other creative curriculum approaches.
Assessment for such students is done as a continuous process involving dialogs, writings, seminars, and final papers. Standardized testing does the opposite of this; hence failing to test deep thinking in students. For this reason, standardized tests should be strapped. Standardized tests are also inappropriate because the results of those tests do not reflect the actual performance of the students. These tests evaluate the performance of students on one particular day and do not take other external factors into account. There are many differences in students who take the standardized tests. They have different past experiences, different family backgrounds, different thinking and learning styles, different levels of proficiency in the English language, and different cultural backgrounds. Despite all these differences, standardized tests treat these students as if they were all identical.
With standardized testing, students do the same tests that different groups of students did seven years ago, and the same tests by be done by different groups of students in the future; yet, everything in the world keeps on changing. Value for diversity also entails the inclusion of students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Such an environment also reduces the richness of human learning and human experience in schools. To some levels, it is dehumanizing. For instance, a student may have a comprehensive understanding of a given subject, but his hard work is not acknowledged because he failed to pass in the standardized tests17. Furthermore, standardized testing is inappropriate because it creates a system of “losers” and “winners. ” In such a system, the winners are glorified while the losers are mocked.
In conclusion, standardized testing is ineffective. Most stakeholders including students, teachers, parents, and school systems suffer from the tests. Other than pressuring the stakeholders to improve the students’ scores, preparing for the tests and administering them is costly and time-consuming. It also jeopardizes the creativity and learning experiences of the students as a lot of focus and time is channeled towards preparing and administering the tests. Some school systems and teachers resort to narrowing the curriculum or avoiding some subjects or elements of learning that are not covered in the standardized tests. "Standardized testing and school segregation: like tinder for fire?. " Race Ethnicity and Education 20. KUMANDAŞ, Hatice, and Ömer KUTLU. "High Stake Tests. " Eğitim Bilimleri Araştırmaları Dergisi 5. E.
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