Are Test Scores A Good Judge Of Student Competency?

1267 words - 5 pages

Based on the Programme for International Student Assessment’s 2012 results (PISA), the United States has ranked 30th in comparison to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) participating countries. The United States, a country that has once held the ideal for educational standards, has now ranked just slightly above other countries that are just being developed. By using high-stakes test statistics to drive America’s educational standards, classrooms are beginning to lose their meaning of helping students to learn and grow as individuals. Because of classrooms just teaching the test are beginning to lose the meaning of helping students to learn and grow as individuals, results of high stakes testing which can be affected by the minutest details, are not a reasonable way to judge overall student competency; a better alternative would be by performance based assessments. “Test developers are obliged to create a series of one-size-fits-all assessments. But, as most of us know from attempting to wear one-size-fits-all garments, sometimes one size really can’t fit all.” (Popham, James W.). High stakes tests are not a reasonable way to judge overall student competency because educators can not expect to have accurate and precise results in just one sitting for 12 years of learning. Although tests pose an important role in education, they should not be given such high stakes of determining if a student should be rejected from a college “based solely on the fact that their score wasn’t high enough” (Stake, Robert.).

Standardized Achievement tests are often administered to give a perspective on how well students perform, however, most educators fail to understand that they are only limited to a certain range. According to Harvard’s Usable Knowledge, “The problem is that as people have become increasingly focused on the tests for which people are held accountable, scores on those tests have often become misleading... And that’s ironically undermined what we can say with confidence about how much kids actually know and can do." (Kortez, Daniel). The limits derived from test scored often go unaccounted for and “ What education leaders want is a fair, straight-forward measure of school performance, to be able to monitor schools and hold them accountable” ( Fusaro, Maria). High-stakes test results defy the standards of which education is based upon as it does not reflect applied knowledge but rather theoretical knowledge. As the famous quote goes, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”-Yogi Berra. Standardized tests factor out critical thinking abilities and shift focus to how well a student can memorize or in some cases, guess. The product of allowing test scores to deem judgement on student competency leads to a negative outcome as it accounts for 85 percent of a school’s grade. As high-stakes testing carries such a heavy impact, its policies unintentionally influences “...

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