Standardized Testing Is An Unreliable Measure In Schools

1820 words - 8 pages

By definition, a standardized test is any test that is administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. Schools use two main types, aptitude and achievement. Aptitude tests are meant to predict how well students are going to perform in a subsequent educational setting while achievement tests are to evaluate a school's effectiveness. Standardized tests have been a controversial issue in the United States since the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states. The use of these tests has begun to not only affect the form of education but the level of knowledge students are taking away from their educational experience. Although standardized testing is used throughout the country, it is an unreliable measure of education and is dramatically changing the curricula causing a creativity crisis.
Standardized testing is an unreliable measure of schools and should not be used to measure student learning, achievement gaps,and/or teacher student quality. They are unfair and discriminatory towards students from low income and minority­group backrounds; english language learners and students with disabilities. According to W. James Popham, an expert on educational assessment, “if children come from advantaged families and stimulus rich environments, then they are more apt to succeed on items in standardized achievement tests than other children whose environments don't mesh as well with what the tests measure” (W. James Popham). Low­scoring students are not given the attention they need and they are not challenged or supported. Instead they are given “dumbed­down” curriculum which only causes the students to fall further behind. Meanwhile children with average scores
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from middle or upper income backgrounds are placed into “gifted/ talented” classes. In these classes students are challenged; to read, to write and to achieve a higher level of thinking.The students placed in “gifted/talented classes” only rise higher than those with low test scores. This process only hurts the students who do poorly on one test. It sets them behind their peers for the rest of their educational career. NCLB and RTTT (Race to the Top Fund) have pressured schools to misuse test information. Testing could be used as part of student assessment but it can not be the only way to measure student and teacher capability. Other nations use performance based assessments to evaluate students and therefore score higher than the United States on international exams. Furthermore, as stated on fairtest.org, tests are used to “determine if children are ready for school; track them into instruction levels; diagnose learning disabilities, retardation and other handicaps; and decide whether to promote, retain in grade, or graduate” (fairtest.org). No test is good enough to be the only defining factor in making such an important decision. The tests measure very little and have caused caused parents, teachers, students and schools to become...

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