As a student myself I have a trouble of understanding why standardized testing has taken over basically all of my education. My worries have moved from being able to understand and learn the material, to being able to understand the teacher and what kind of questions they will be asking on the exams.
Unfortunately, as a student my point of view is biased as I hate everything, especially the things that hinder my success. So, from the point of view of a teacher, its easier to see the advantages of standardized testing. They provide results quickly and easily. If a teacher has a class that does not perform well on the test he or she can determine that either the students don’t understand the material, or that his or her own teaching has lacked what the students need.
Why do parents, students, and teachers all see it so differently? Which one is wrong? I will attempt to provide you with the most controversial pros and cons, and it’ll be up to you to decide. Are you a fan of standardized testing?
Pros to Testing:
1. They’ve shown positive effects on the Students: Richard P. Phelps held a research on this specific topic. He claims that though standardized testing is not at all time accurate, “some information for making decisions is better than none.” And the “high-stake” situations motivate the students to work harder.
2. They are reliable and objective measures of knowledge: Multiple choice tests are graded by machine and therefore cannot be graded with bias or subjectivity. Tests are designed based around facts, if a student does not know the facts then he or she will not pass the exam. It’s a simple system of whether you know it or not. Results are all dependent on the student, not the teacher, making it a fair assessment of what they know and do not.
3. Standardized Testing prepare students for their futures: Whether it be for college or for career, standardized tests are used by all. Taking them during school allows students to learn test-taking strategies as well as what style of studying suits them the best.
Cons to Testing:
1. It does not accurately measure knowledge: A study by the Brookings Institution found that 50%-80% of test score improvements were temporary and have nothing to do with long-term changes.
2. Doesn’t actually motivate students: Tests are becoming less motivating and just plain stressful. Students are taught that tests are an assessment of knowledge but what I believe, as a student myself, is that all we need to do to pass a test is to know what the teachers will ask. Some are completely crazy, without any relation to what we’ve been taught. Others make some sense.
3. Testing over-stresses the Students: “Common responses to “exam stress” include disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worry, irregular eating habits, increased infections, and inability to concentrate.” Students may seem like they’re are over-exaggerating their stress, but stress does not happen without explanation, our bodies can tell when we are stressed and they act accordingly.
In conclusion, while testing may be the easiest and most efficient way of measuring a class’s knowledge. There really isn’t any better way to analyze and gather the data test provide us with, but that should not undermine the fact that they will never be 100% accurate and that they cause harm to some.
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