All about Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has been used for nearly 2,000 years, going all the way back to the Han Dynasty in 1st-century China. It still plays a very important part of our lives today, getting accepted into college, receiving scholarships, and more. Standardized testing can change lives for a lot of people, it is important we keep these test around for

Accountability. Teacher accountability is a huge reason for standardized testing implementation because these tests measure mastery of grade-level standards. These tests make teachers thrive to teach their students to succeed, because if they are not teaching to the best of their ability it may result in a student failing the class. Standardized testing gives teachers the opportunity to see how well they are teaching their students. With standardized testing, you can see where each individual student is it, because they are all answering the same questions and answers.

Standardized testing can help teachers improve their teaching. For example, halfway through the semester, a teacher hands out a standardized test to see where the students are. If the results aren’t as good as they should be, the teacher then has an opportunity to not only improve their teaching but now help more students succeed if the material isn’t being taught properly. This is such an important thing because if each student had a different test made for the individual student the teacher wouldn’t be able to see where each student is compared to another.

Standardized tests are a good measure of a student’s achievement. If we did not have standardized tests, policymakers would have to rely on tests that have been made and scored by teachers and individual schools that have favorite students. Also, multiple-choice questions on standardized tests are graded by a machine so it is fairer than a test graded by a teacher. This evidence shows that standardized tests give more reliable results. Standardized tests should be kept in schools so that the increased testing along with stricter standards is better preparation for students who want to go to college. For instance, in January 1998, “Public Agenda found that 66% of college professors said that ‘elementary and high schools expect students to learn too little.’” Furthermore, by March 2002, “after a surge in testing and the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), an act that allows several federal education programs that are administered by the states, was passed that figure dropped to 47% ‘in direct support of higher expectations, strengthened standards and better tests.’” Standardized tests are important because they help students learn what they need to in order to get into college.

Testing is not too stressful for students. The US Department of Education stated: ‘Although testing may be stressful for some students, testing is a normal and expected way of assessing what students have learned.’ A Nov. 2001 University of Arkansas study found that ‘the vast majority of students do not exhibit stress and have positive attitudes towards standardized testing programs.’ Young students vomit at their desks for a variety of reasons, but only in rare cases is this the result of testing anxiety.

Standardized tests provide a lot of useful information at low cost, and consume little class time. According to a paper by Caroline M. Hoxby, PhD, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor in Economics at Stanford University, standardized tests cost less than 0.1% of K-12 education spending, totaling $5.81 per student per year: ‘Even if payments were 10 times as large, they would still not be equal to 1 percent of what American jurisdictions spend on education.’ Other cost estimates range from $15-$33 per student per year by the nonpartisan US Government Accountability Office (GAO), to as low as $2 per student per year by testing scholar and economist Richard P. Phelps. A 50-item standardized test can be given in an hour and is graded instantaneously by computer.

Standardized tests are inclusive and non-discriminatory because they ensure content is equivalent for all students. Former Washington, DC, schools chancellor Michelle Rhee argues that using alternate tests for minorities or exempting children with disabilities would be unfair to those students: ‘You can’t separate them, and to try to do so creates two, unequal systems, one with accountability and one without it. This is a civil rights issue.’ It is unfair to the millions upon millions of students who put countless hours of work into school, rather than students who put little to no effort and get a different test or extra time.

Stricter standards and increased testing are better for preparing school students for college. In Jan. 1998, Public Agenda found that 66% of college professors said: ‘elementary and high schools expect students to learn too little.” By Mar. 2002, after a surge in testing and the passing of NCLB, that figure dropped to 47% ‘in direct support of higher expectations, strengthened standards and better tests.” The whole point of high school is to prepare us for college there for the rest of our lives. These standardized tests are preparing us for the real world, where special treatment is given, that’s exactly what standardized testing is, it’s an equal assessment to everyone who takes it.

Teacher-graded assessments are inadequate alternatives to standardized tests because they are subjectively scored and unreliable. Most teachers are not trained in testing and measurement, and research has shown many teachers ‘consider noncognitive outcomes, including student class participation, perceived effort, progress over the period of the course, and comportment,’ which are irrelevant to subject-matter mastery.

Each state’s progress on NCLB tests can be meaningfully compared. Even though tests are developed by states independently, state scores are compared with results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), ensuring each state’s assessments are equally challenging and that gains in a state’s test scores are valid. Everyone deserves a fair and equal shot at something, so try to tell me when it would be fair to edit the tests for certain students and not others.

Standardized testing gives so many students great opportunities, thousands of scholarships are determined by standardized testings. Scholarships can give students life-changing deals, and without standardized testing, there is no fair way to determine who shall receive those scholarships and who shouldn’t. Also, students who don’t have a good GPA, standardized testing gives them a great opportunity to get into college and those scholarships. These tests give every student an equal opportunity to thrive on their own and reach their own potential by putting in the time and effort to do well.