Standardized tests are used in all public schools in the United States, as well as many other countries. These are tests given to students that are regulated on a state government level. They are designed to gauge students level of comprehension in a variety of subjects, such as math, reading, and science. The questions are all specifically designed and the same tests are given to all students, in different versions. There is an immense amount of pressure placed onto the schools, teachers, and students to perform well in these tests, which pose the question, is this truly an accurate way to judge a student’s intelligence?
The Advantages of Standardized Testing
1. Guidance for Teachers
It can be very difficult for teachers to build a comprehensive lesson plan that they can follow. These standardized tests help them to organize the things that they teach and when they should teach them. It is a powerful guidance tool for schools and educators to use.
2. Sets An Understood Standard
Knowing how you measure up to the rest of the country can be a helpful thing. It can motivate students to try harder to understand certain subjects. This also provides the school and teacher with what areas their students are lacking in and where more focus should be placed in the classroom.
3. Measures Ability
Along with setting standards of comprehension and knowledge it also allows certain areas level to be compared on a nation wide and even global level. This is very powerful for many reasons, it helps to exemplify just how far ahead you are from the rest. This also plays into the funding that is provided for the school from the government.
4. The Test Isn’t Bias
Normal tests t hat are given in the classroom are created by the teachers, as well as graded. This makes them highly subjective, and bias about what the teacher believes and has taught. It doesn’t create a standard and average for testing the student’s knowledge in the way that standardized testing does.
The Disadvantages of Standardized Testing
1. Puts Teachers In A Box
When the sole focus of the school year is placed on preparing students for a standardized test, it makes it very difficult for teachers to teach the way that they want, or the way that their students need. They have to follow a very strict curriculum set by the state in order to get the best scores on their tests.
2. An Inaccurate Judgement
The questions that are made are made by a very select group of people, so how can they accurately determine what it means to understand a subject? Each student is different and understands things in a different way. Standardized tests put these students into boxes that they feel they must fit into which is negatively impacting the mindset that comes along with an education.
3. It Inspires Cheating
Much of a schools funding depends on how well they perform on a the states standardized tests. This is a huge amount of pressure to put on teachers and students. It’s because of this pressure, and throwing money into the mix, that there have been numerous cases of cheating. When I say cheating, I don’t mean by the students either. Teachers and school districts all over the country have been found guilty of changing answers, submitting false tests, and doing just about anything they can in order to boost their classes scores.