May 3, 2017
Is Standardized Testing Positive or Negative?
As Albert Einstein once said, “Everyone 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.” This quote helps reflect the
negative views on standardized tests. It is commonly discussed that standardized tests are
detrimental because they don’t appeal to everyone’s individual minds and abilities. In this case, it
wouldn't be fair in any sort if you tested a fish’s ability to climb a tree, because it has no way of
succeeding there, but put it in its own environment and watch it thrive. This relates to the flaws
of standardized tests, because all kids are different. Standardized tests are negative in the sense
that they fail to measure important attributes of student achievement, they favor students with
higher income, and they are unnecessary in determining good students for a college.
Contrary to popular belief, standardized tests do a poor job at measuring the achievement
of students. In the recent years of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), problems in this area have
been amplified “because we’ve asked test scores to carry ever more weight and … make ever
more consequential decisions” (Harris et al 1). It is not fair that these consequential decisions
focus more heavily on a test score than many other aspects of a child. A single number and grade
should not be used to define a kid. Standardized tests only have the ability to measure a sample
of the goals of education. Qualities that standardized tests fail to measure mentioned by Gerald
Bracey include, but are not limited to “creativity … empathy … [and] sense of wonder” (Harris
et al 2). Children are being labeled by a test score rather than who they are as people. Defining
characteristics of children should be more important than a grade. As well as carrying too much
weight and failing to measure important abilities, standardized tests lead to superficial thinkers.
Alfie Kohn, a Brown University graduate, American author, and lecturer in the areas of
education, parenting and human behavior, says that “Studies of students of different ages have
found a statistical association between students with high test scores on standardized tests and
relatively shallow thinking” (Harris et al 3). High test scores are leading to negative traits in
students. Stats like these hopefully bring up the idea to schools that standardized tests are
detrimental to kids who take the tests. Between studies, a lack of attributes collected, and the
increasing pull of standardized tests, it can be concluded that they do miscarry students of who
they really are.
Standardized testing has contributed to the acceptance of students that come from
families with higher incomes. Joseph Soares, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University, in
an interview with N.C Policy Watch, said that “At UNC-Chapel Hill, 72 percent of
undergraduates come from...