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Against Standardized Testing Essay

2085 words - 8 pages

There seems to be a dilemma in the educational system. In order to
receive funding, a school system has to test its students annually.
These tests are supposed to measure the progress of the students and the
school system. But what is really measured with these scores? What do they
really mean? Should children be tested as frequently as they are? And most
importantly, should the ability to pass on to another grade or to graduate
from high school be based on only one test? With so many questions arising
from these tests, the answer is to take a stand against them.
Perhaps a brief history will provide a better understanding of the standardized
testing system. In the 1980’s, the National Governors Association
pushed for states to have performance-based accountability of their school
systems. Basically, states would grant schools more flexibility in what and
how they chose to teach in return for more accountability for academicbased
performance. In 1994, Title I, “the largest federally funded education
program” (http://www.doe.mass.edu), actually required that all states create
performance-based accountability systems for schools (Elmore 2). Now,
with the introduction of the Bush administration’s No Children Left
Behind, all states are required to annually test their students in order to
receive federal grants (Romano 1). In Bush’s attempt to make sure that our

schools are held to a high standard, he is threatening their funding based
on their students’ performance. Not only are students’ grade advancements
and sometimes graduations dependent upon these tests, but so is the funding
for their schools as well. Teachers can be dismissed or schools shut
down based on test performance. No pressure there, kids.
What has happened now is that kids are just “tested out.” In a CNN
documentary, a teacher in Florida reported that her third graders were sobbing
at the thought of having to take another test (Quindlen 1). Third
graders are already feeling the strain of these tests, and they have barely
begun their education and the tests that are sure to come with it. The road
to high school, graduation, college, and a job is now paved with tests. If
third graders are burnt out, how are they going to do well on the tests that
are to come? If we have already tested kids so much by the third grade that
they are crying, this should say something. Sure, that school will get its
funding, but at what price to its students?
Unfortunately, largely due to the enormous success of such tests in
Texas, the push has not let up. The state has been made an example. The
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills has apparently shown an
increase in students’ scores. However, the same CNN documentary
reported that in Austin High School, of the 9th grade class made up of
1,160 students, less than 300 of them were in 10th grade the following year
(Quindlen 1). It has been reported that kids are purposely held back so that
their performance...

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