The Impact of Standardized Testing on the Educational System in the US

Albert Einstein asserted that “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”. Standardized testing has historically been a national debate in the last few years and many parents feel deeply concerned about their children being judged on the basis of tests. Because standardized tests are being used to make major decisions about their kids, such as grade promotion or high school graduation, and higher education evaluation. Besides that there are many advantages and few disadvantages to high-stakes tests which are provide insightful feedback into student progress, create an equitable education but somehow bring high anxiety and false result to the student. As high-stakes testing became more popular, standardized tests became a tool to measure the quality of the educational system.

The advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing are quite unique. Basically, to be sure if standardized tests accurately predict student success, there must first be some insight into what a standardized test really is. According to the glossary of education reform “ A standardized test is any form of test that requires test takers to answer the same questions or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in same way, and that is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students (“ Standardized Test Definition”).

While evaluating the pros and cons of standardized testing, it is evident that researchers and educators state that standardized tests provide “a neutral yardstick” for measuring student potential and performance. Meanwhile, test scores are important because they’re objective measures of the schooling outcome. It’s appropriate to emphasize student achievement on math and reading tests because these are the foundation for success, and far too few students in public schools today adequately possess these basic skills. Even though the purpose of the tests are designed to measure how well students learned the skills important to meet state standards. In this regard, standardized testing are incredibly effective. Because the tests are written, administered, and scored in the same way regardless of student, school, or district. They can give a clear picture of how schools are meeting educational standards. This way, learning gaps can be identified and addressed early on to best support the student.

The standardized test gives valuable insight into comprehensive issues, such as the standard curriculum important to grade level requirements, and bring fairness and equitable education for all children in all schools, district by district and state by state. Nevertheless, there are students who want to get away with these kinds of standardized testing. People say they aren’t of value. They say all this testing is putting too much stress on teachers and students. The truth is, “high-stakes testing” is the opposition’s way of saying they want to get away with teacher evaluations that are based in part on student learning. This is the only way the teacher would know if the student needs intervention or remediation. The educator will know if the curriculum matches the course requirements; or if the teaching methods require adjustment. In the long run, this can also lead to better teaching skills, as teachers will be held accountable to help their students meet these standards.

As a matter of fact that there is no way that 50 questions for each subject can circumscribe in the path of 12 years of learning to provide an outlook on student success. It is indeed cannot, in any way or form can measure all the knowledge and skills a student was taught. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, popular standardized tests like SAT or ACT are designed to predict how well a student will perform in college. By providing questions that cover a large amount of knowledge based on critical thinking and skills they aim to predict the success of student beyond the structure of the high school curriculum. This can be misunderstood to the students that the score is matters but not the general knowledge on the subject. Honestly, these test is impossible to provide an accurate student’s accomplishment.

Even though they judge a student on readiness and test-taking skills, standardized tests cannot precisely foresee student achievement. High-stakes testing may or may not determine accurately one’s intelligence. Though the negative result will increase the dropout rate and also students have to suffer from increased levels of test anxiety. How are they expected to succeed? According to prominent education expert, Dr. Karen R. Zittleman states that teaching is being redefined as test preparation. Many teachers indicate that the strict guidelines of high-stakes testing force them to skip over the material and move on whether students understand or not (Moon, Brighton, Jarvis, & Hall, 2007). Standardized tests are lack in their ability to test a student’s long-term efficiency or their strengths outside of multiple choice questions.

Moreover, with standardized testing, there is an inconsistency in scoring. Research shows that the majority of students taking the tests for entrance into college take them more than once. The reason is that they all hoping for a better score. However, this is not always the case. Statistics pointed out by ACT report that of the students who took the ACT more than once 22 percent received a decrease in their overall score (“ Retake the test”). The answers are that some receive harder questions in their second time and others simply got lucky on their first time. Once again, we cannot count on a test to accurately predict a student’s future if the results are so inconstant.

Reasonably, the alternative to rely on instead of standardized test is based on the high school GPA. The research of William Hiss suggests that high school GPA and class rank are the best when predicting a student’s success (Hiss, No Difference). This would make more sense when one could see the improvement of the student on their drive and work ethic. Especially, on their intellect. On the other hand, GPA does an accurate job on balance the two for performance. While the answers are arguable, it offers a much better prediction than standardized tests.

In conclusion, evidence has indicated that standardized testing has affected the education system in the United States positively and negatively. Nowadays, standardized testing is a way to evaluate teachers and student performance. The purpose of the policymakers for the test is to make sure standards are met as well as creating new standards as new knowledge comes in. Besides the positive aspects, the test comes with a negative one as well. The test may encourage educators to just “ teach for the test”. The people who are in charge of the standardized testing should consider the good and bad sides of such a program. Perhaps board leaders will soon realize that young adults are entering college and the workforce without the adequate skills they need. There must be another way to sufficiently measure students’ intellect and learning development.