Essay: Standardized Testing in schools

Across America, schools are using standardized testing in order to decide the placement of a child whether it be to see what has been learned throughout the year, or deciding grade placement. There are several different opinions on the topic, some people agree that it is fair and others believe that it is not. Standardized testing prevents students from learning useful knowledge because school systems are only teaching what is expected to be on the test.

Standardized tests were created to track a student’s learning to decide if they are prepared to move to the next level of education or not. The creators of the test believe that by having students take a standardized test it is showing their strengths and weaknesses in certain areas of learning. Also as Popham states “a student’s relative knowledge and/or skills can be compared with those possessed by a national sample of students of the same age or grade level” (“Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality”). This is an example of how students are being compared to one another based off of one test that has been taken. When a student that may have a learning disability or just does not perform well on tests is compared to an academically gifted child it gives them a disadvantage.

Standardized tests should not be a way to measure a student’s academic success. Many students struggle when it comes to taking big tests due to being nervous or having test anxiety. A standardized test is usually a long, timed test that includes all the stands that have been taught throughout the school year. By having to complete such a lengthy test in a set amount of time it puts a lot of unnecessary stress on the student and if the child is not a very strong test taker it is unfair for the student to be judged off of the score they make on the test. As Popham explains, “if a school’s standardized test scores are high, people think the school’s staff is effective. If a school’s standardized test scores are low, they see the school’s staff as ineffective”. (“Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality”) With this being said, many teachers just want hurry and cover all that is supposed to be on the test at a fast pace rather than making sure that the student is learning what is being taught. When a child does not understand the lesson as it is being taught they will not understand months later when it comes time to complete a test which is why the curriculum should not strictly be based on the test.

Standardized tests do not prepare a student for college. In college, students are not expected to take a cumulative exam because it would result in the test becoming too lengthy. K-12 schools need to focus their curriculum on engaging the student’s attention into subjects that will someday be useful. Teaching a lesson that may one day be useful in life will be much more beneficial than teaching the curriculum around what the state says will be on the tests. In Popham’s opinion, “The teaching of a nation’s children is too important to be left unmonitored”. (“Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality”). Throughout school, students must worry about making sure they get good grades even though they may not always understand the material, this may lead to cheating. It is important to make sure that the students are learning material that can be used later in life for jobs and the important things needed to know when living in the real world.

Standardized tests keep students from the opportunity to learn material that will one day be needed because the school systems feel as though it is more important for teachers to base their teaching off of what is said to be on the test. Standardized testing is not convenient to anyone, not even teachers. According to statistics, “Teachers lose between 60 and 100 hours of instructional time per year because of testing and institutional tasks that surround it” (Gere 1). One test should not determine a child’s grade placement or the way that they are treated at school or even at home. Standardized tests do not give a fair education to children, it provides them with an unfair education. The reason it is unfair is that the fact that the teachers are more worried about losing their jobs if they do not teach what will be on the test. The children that are sitting in classrooms all day being taught unimportant material that will never be useful are the future generations and it is important that they have the knowledge needed to raise the following generation.

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