Standardized Testing

Standardized Testing Free Essay

Different countries use various methods to test their students. In the US, standardized tests have been included in the education sector since the mid-1800s. However, some of the states did not adopt standardized tests within their jurisdiction. The use of standardized tests in various parts of the country appeared after the Act, known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which required that each state conducts annual tests, was passed in 2002. Following the introduction of standardized tests, the US students lost their  18 positions in 2002 to position 27 in 2012 in the world rate of math knowledge. Many reasons have been attributed to this decline in the rankings among which there is the introduction of standardized tests at schools by the government. The use of standardized testing has resulted in the decline in the rankings and promoted the change of teaching methods to a ‘teaching the test’ method that inhibits teachers to produce critical thinkers and innovators. For this reason, standardized testing hurts the education sector. This essay discusses the reasons why standardized testing is unreliable in the education sector.

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Standardized testing is not trustworthy in the education sector since it has not improved the students` achievement. The passed law referred to as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was meant to improve the level of education in the US education system. However, contrary to this, the US fell in world math rating in the Program for international student assessment (PISA) from position 18 to position 31 in 2009. The drop has not only been observed in the mathematics sector but the science sector in the same competition as well. However, there has been no change in reading among the students. The research from the National Research Council in 2011 showed no evidence that the test-based incentives were working to improve the level of learning among the students. This system has been used by the population for several decades and did not prove itself an effective incentive to improve the ratings of the students. For this reason, standardized ratings have been considered to be unreliable in the education sector.

Another reason why standardized testing has been observed to be irrelevant in the education sector is that they have become an unreliable way to measure the performance of the students. In a study performed in 2001 by the Brookings Institution, the improvement of the score did not have anything in common with the long-term introduction of the standardized tests in the learning industry but was caused by the fluctuations (Olson, 2011). This shows that there have not been any documented findings to prove that standardized tests have been reliable in the education sector to improve the level of education. For this reason, they are not suitable to be used in the education sector.

Another reason why standardized tests should not be used in the education sector is that they are unfair and discriminatory to students with special needs or those that do not speak English. Since the tests are usually taken annually, people who do not have English as their first language often take this test before they have mastered English (McKnight, 2011). Additionally, the children who have special needs and require specific ways of being taught by their teachers also take the tests together with the ordinary students. Little accommodation is given to these children who have their Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Since they are not treated differently from their counterparts who do not have any form of special needs, using standardized tests as the basis of measurement for each student is, therefore, unfair and discriminatory. For this reason, standardized tests should not be applied in the education sector.

Additionally, standardized tests are a measure of only a small percentage of the different components that make the education system meaningful. The research by Gerald W. Bracey shows that standardized tests only assess the remembering ability of the student (Strauss, 2011). They do not evaluate other skills such as being creative, thinking critically, resilience on the part of the student, being motivated, having persistence in education, being curious, enduring different things, being reliable, having empathy, and being self-aware. Other components such as the sense of leadership, having compassion, being courageous, showing resourcefulness, being honest, and having integrity also need to be taken into consideration by the different tests. The standardized tests do not measure all these components, hence it is not a reliable way to estimate everything that makes education meaningful to the student.

Through the introduction of standardized tests, the different forms of teaching that were previously used by teachers have now been transformed into ‘teaching the test.’ After the introduction of this form of test, teachers changed their forms of teaching to teaching only the material that is most likely to be brought into the test. The rest of the material is not taught (Valli, Croninger, Alexander, & Price, 2004). The different components of education such as providing a sense of leadership, being creative and innovative, and showing resourcefulness are not involved in the teaching part. Teachers only concentrate on covering the syllabus instead of focusing on teaching the students in a way that can have an impact on their lives. A study by the University of Maryland that was conducted for five years and completed in 2007 shows that teachers in the different schools involved in the study felt the pressure to teach what was being covered in the tests. The NCLB Act that was introduced in 2002, therefore, led to a decline in the covering of thinking standards considered to be a high order. Additionally, the amount of time spent by teachers to help students with assignments that were considered complex was minimal. Moreover, there was a decline in cognitive content that was outlined in the curriculum. Therefore, standardized tests have become negative for the teaching industry as they have led to the degradation of the quality of education provided by these people.

In conclusion, standardized tests should not have been adopted by the education sector. There is no sign that these tests cause the improvement of the grades among children. Additionally, from the already gathered evidence in the US, it is clear that standardized tests have not added to the education level in the country. The rankings in world math in the United States fell from position 18 to position 31 after the introduction of standardized tests. This shows that these tests instead of improving the performance of the students have just decreased their performance of the students. For this reason, they should be forbidden in the United States. No documented evidence shows that standardized tests work how different people view them to work. Thus, they are unreliable in the measurement of performance. Additionally, standardized testing has led to a decline in the quality of education being delivered by different teachers. Teachers now feel the pressure to teach the content of the test than deliver other forms of education. Consequently, standardized testing is not appropriate for the education sector.

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