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Is Standardized Testing A Good Idea? The Lack Of Equality In Today's School Systems Often Decide A Student's Future. Is A Standardized Test The Measure Of A Student?

1219 words - 5 pages

Standardized Testing: Good or Bad?The current trend of "high stakes" standardized testing can be both a blessing and acurse to today's school systems and students. The repercussions felt by the outcomes ofthese tests often determine the financial well being of school districts, the careers ofeducators and the academic future of the students who take them. One might want topose the following question: should so much be riding on standardized testing and arethese tests accurate indicators of a school and/or a student's performance?Standardized testing in the United States has been performed for at least a century.Immigrants coming to this country in the beginning of the 20th century were givenstandardized tests and could be refused entry to this country based on the results. Tests inpublic schools can propel a student into an advanced class or drop them into a remedialclass, adversely affecting their academic future. The military uses standardized testing todetermine a person's military profession and can refuse enlistment based on poor results.Also, standardized testing has been used to argue the intellectual superiority of certainraces and social groups.The launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the subsequent space race forced public officials totake a hard look at the context of material taught to school students. To ensure studentswere being taught the proper subjects at the right level, standardized testing wasinstituted.The first state to require a "minimum requirement" test for high school graduation wasFlorida. However, after initial gains in tests scores, results began to level out and anincreased dropout rate was noticed among minorities and testing was halted. During the1980's minimum requirement testing for high school graduation was almost entirelystopped. (Amrein and Berliner 3)In 1983, after the article A Nation at Risk was released by the National Commission onEducation states began taking another look at standardized testing for high schoolstudents. The article stated that the United States was losing it's intellectual standing inthe world due to an insufficient education at the high school level. The study suggestedthat high school students were only learning enough to get through school and nothingmore. (A Nation at Risk 1) This article prompted the beginning of "high-stakes"testing."High-stakes" testing would bring rewards to the schools that did well and severeconsequences to the schools that performed poorly. A school whose scores wereamong the best would receive money and public accolades. Property values in these highperforming school districts actually increase upon the release of these results. On theother hand, schools that performed poorly would be fined, teachers possibly fired and thedismal results released to the public.What is the effect of the testing in regards to the student? The first type of "high-stakes" test that a student will encounter in their academic career will likely be the highschool exit exam. The student...

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