Standardized testing scores proficiencies in most generally accepted curricular areas. The margin of error is too great to call this method effective. “High test scores are generally related to things other than the actual quality of education students are receiving” (Kohn 7). “Only recently have test scores been published in the news-paper and used as the primary criteria for judging children, teachers, and schools.”(2) Standardized testing is a great travesty imposed upon the American Public School system.
Politicians claim that Accountability is needed. Dylan Wiliam wrote that “The logic of accountability is deceptively simple”(110) He goes on to say that “students attending higher quality schools will (by definition) have higher achievement than those attending lower quality schools, so that the differences in quality of schools will result in systematic differences in achievement between schools”(110). Yes indeed accountability is needed. It is needed for those who pay for education (tax payers) and the people who are educated (the students). The institutions that regulate education should be held accountable for the policies they enact as well as the government that approved those actions. “Of the total variance in mathematics achievement of 15-year-olds in the United States in 2004 only 8% was attributable to the actual quality of the education provided by the school, the results in science are similar” (111). This is an indictment of the American school system, it points out that standardized testing is in fact inaccurate and unnecessary.
These facts also relate to the poor quality to which standardized testing has fallen and directly to the poor quality of education received in our public school systems. These tests are measuring students' abilities to take tests and memorize short-term knowledge in order to regurgitate the same information shortly thereafter, and in no way supports the deeper knowledge or understanding of the curriculum that is needed for the basis of analytical thought.
While differences of scores on these tests should represent the quality of the education at the schools, “whether such inferences are valid depend wholly on the extent to which the tests used adequately represent the construct of interest (what schools are designed to develop in their students) (110). These tests don’t necessarily represent what the school curriculum is designed to teach.
Standardized testing is an inaccurate term because we lack a national standard. Diane Ravitch maintains that “In the absence of national standards, we have evolved a haphazard, accidental, dis-connected national curriculum based on mass-market text-books and standardized multiple-choice tests” (767). How can we even call these tests standardized as when there is no national standard?
Teachers who as Kohn described it have a “dislike/hate relationship with testing” are “forced to care about the scores” of testing through coercion and “public shaming” (19,20)....