Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing
Over the past few decades, standardized testing has caused quite a bit of controversy, with many parents raising concerns over their children being evaluated on the basis of tests that have nothing to do with the real learning.
Both public and private schools in the US use a standards-based grading system. However, since 2012, the number of states that require their students to take standardized graduation tests has decreased from 25 to 13. Idaho canceled graduation exams in 2017, and so did Rhode Island. Studies show that these tests do more harm than good, so an ideal solution to this problem would be to buy essay writing.
Given the acuteness of the problem, we feel it necessary to discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of standardized tests.
1. Disadvantages of Standardized Testing
- Since test results may affect students’ academic career, they do everything possible to pass them, including cheating.
- The results of standardized tests are not even returned to professors and students, while companies conducting them do not provide the latter with instructions on how to improve their results.
- Tests do not measure test-takers’ creativity. The trouble is that machines performing tests consider creative answers incorrect due to their non-compliance with accepted standards.
- Individuals taking standardized tests come from different cultural backgrounds, have dissimilar learning and thinking styles, and possess varying levels of experience. However, they’re all tested the same way.
- These days, a lot of attention is paid to test results, which is why teachers are focusing more on preparing their students for tests, and less on the actual teaching. Students spend a lot of their time taking or preparing for boring tests, which prevents them from learning something new or important.
- Standardized tests are conducted in an artificial learning environment which is characterized by time limits, lack of interaction, and non-availability of additional materials.
- High levels of stress during testing. Some students cope well with stress, while others may suffer greatly from it. According to leading brainologists, too much stress can be detrimental to psychological and physical health. And when stress becomes excessive, test-takers fail to come up with correct answers to standard questions.
- Standardized tests were developed by mediocre minds, not geniuses. One of them was Lewis Terman, a racist, while another one specialized in conducting experiments with rats and mazes.
- Test results may affect students’ confidence. One of the biggest disadvantages of standardized testing is that it can give rise to lower self-esteem and lack of motivation.
- People mistakenly believe that standardized testing ensures a neutral and authoritative assessment of students’ intellectual abilities. However, cultural factors, lack of awareness of testing methods, and stress can significantly reduce test-takers’ results. For example, a student with advanced writing skills will not be able to give a correct answer to questions pertaining to grammar and punctuation. On the other hand, the very same student can come up with a really great essay.
2. Advantages of Standardized Testing
- Parents get more information about their children’s academic progress. The information provided by test results shows how their kids perform academically based on a percentile rank.
For example, if a student scores 85% in a literature test, their parents can infer that they’re more proficient in this particular subject. They can also analyze how educational opportunities in their region differ from the ones nationwide.
- This has to do with the collaboration of test-takers. Testing is a kind of competition for students. They work hard to get high scores and when they achieve the desired result, it fills them with a great sense of pride. This is especially true of talented and smart students who regularly receive the highest score.
- Standardized testing helps improve curriculum and teaching methods. Thanks to it, teachers and students can identify flaws in the educational system.
- Tests help teachers create a comprehensive learning structure. They make it possible for them to maintain the consistency of learning materials throughout the country and thus prevent subjective judgment.
- The testing system helps students identify gaps in their knowledge.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing allows high school and college teachers to make changes in the educational process. It also helps them come up with individualized instructional methods that will ultimately improve their students’ academic performance.