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Standardized Testing

Standardized Testing

Every education major in the United States is familiar with the issue of standardized testing. It is inevitable that a research paper or some form of academic testing will be required of future teachers on the topic of standardized testing at some point in their college career. Paper Masters helps flush out the issue of standardize testing and shows students the main topic areas of the issue. You can use this website to help you understand standardized testing or have our professional writers in the field of education administration write a custom research paper for you.

Standardized testing has become an integral part of modern American education. There is probably not a student in America who, at one time or another, sat down with a number two pencil and filled in ovals on an answer sheet. Standardized tests are designed to be administered in a universal ("standard") way that eliminates bias in an attempt to assess student knowledge and performance. The consistency of standardized tests is supposed to permit reliable and accurate comparison for test results across demographics. However, there are many possible problems with Standardized testing, namely:

  1. Lack of value in content tested
  2. Rate of growth is not measured, which is an important factor in academic success
  3. Cultural differences put some students at a disadvantage in standardize testing

Lack of Value in Standardized Testing

Standardization makes it possible to compare students, schools, districts, and it makes evident what content has been learned. Yet, what is not addressed by the advent of technology and standardized testing is the value of the content that is tested, the answers to which are standardized. Accountability has marked clarity if, and only if, one considers that the material being tested is an appropriate measure of student learning, and or content validity. Again, what is being assessed is more important than the ability to assess what is tested. This creates both professional and ideological divides that are now debated in educational settings.

Rate of Growth Not Measured

Secondly, standardized testing in conjunction with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act has spawned such jargon as, "With growth curve analysis of individual students using hierarchical linear models, initial status on cognitive ability predicted initial achievement scores but did not affect the rate of growth". After hearing that, older educators may scratch their heads and say, "I wonder if the child learned anything." When student learning is translated into digital jargon, and all functional operations are done through mathematical formulas, the content of student learning, as well as the reality of what is learned, how it is learned, and how do we know it is learned, is clouded and sometimes forgotten. The danger to true accountability is that technology and its scientific interpretation are many removes from the classroom, the teacher, the students and the textbooks or classroom activities. It no longer what student reality is, the learning environment is reduced to a digital read-out that is used to determine the future of the school, the teacher and students, the learning content, and teaching methodology. A politician looking at a series of columns of 'hierarchical linear models' can make decisions about children that can become totally irrelevant to student learning, yet deeply affect the educational decisions that affect every child.

Standardized testing in the United States has gained tremendous popularity in recent decades due to the desire to raise academic achievement levels across the nation. By utilizing computer-scored test results, educational performance towards accepted curriculum goals is supposed to be measured. One advantage of standardized testing is the ability to quantify answers for empirical documentation. Third graders across the nation, for example, can be compared regardless of teaching style or geographical location.

Cultural Disadvantages in Standardized Testing

Thirdly, there are some negative consequences of the proliferation of standardized testing in the area of cultural diversity. Whereas teachers have been traditionally expected to be flexibly in daily interactions with students, high stakes exit testing pressures make meaningful, spontaneous learning situations a thing of the past. Not only is there unreasonable pressure on teachers and students, the real issue here is the clear clouding of diversity. Students with language challenges, learning disabilities, attention deficits, and more, will have fewer real conversations about real time events with their teachers. Language acquisition is always more efficient when language is used for real time circumstances. Now, language will focus more on test material and less on real life learning. Student diversity, a remarkable and valuable learning experience for all students, will take a back seat to structured teaching or bits of information, often unrelated to their original contexts. This will make it more difficult, particularly for ESL students, to function well with language, and consequently their test scores may be negatively affected. Focus on the test will be a hindrance to special needs students, both in communication and in test taking that is language-based.

However, in recent years, some criticism of standardized testing has emerged. It is believed in some quarters that standardized testing narrows curriculum development, as educators begin teaching only to facilitate the tests. Frequently, school performance and budgets are dependent upon standardized testing results, leading some educators to fear that a narrow focus hurts student achievement rather than facilitating learning.

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