Standardized Testing: For Better or For Worse?
Almost everyone in the U.S. recognizes that standardized testing is a central part of the education system in our country. What many people don’t know though is the history of where it came from. Beginning in the mid-1800s prestigious universities decided they wanted to give more students across the country a better chance at going into higher education, but at the time there wasn’t a way to measure the capabilities of students in both high class and low class families. This is how standardized testing came into play. If a student could do well on these tests regardless of their financial position than their scores would hopefully speak for themselves. Although, now standardized testing performs many more roles compared to its simple origins.
In today’s society standardized tests not only shows the capabilities of the students, but they also show how much they’ve learned, and the results can even decide how much funding a school will receive. Due to these factors, a tremendous amount of pressure it put upon both students and teachers. For students the pressure is to do well, and for teachers the pressure is to teach your students well enough to perform their best. These requirements have become part of what shapes the classroom mold. The goal of schooling is to not longer just teach, but is now also to prepare students for taking exams.
One argument that has become prevalent is the debate of whether or not standardized testing should be used at all. Ultimately this is a personal decision; there’s no right or wrong answer considering that an argument could be made for either side. One thing that’s for certain though is that there has to be some standard for determining one’s abilities in school. This is an issue that will have to be decided on in time, and so far there’s no clear answer as to what that decision may be. Standardized testing has its positives and negatives, and hopefully this paper will express both sides of the argument.
There are several good things that can be said for standardized testing. For example, it’s an excellent way to gather large amounts of information that would take much longer to gather through other methods. This argument for standardized testing also could lead to the idea that standardized testing saves money in the long run. Rather than spending sums of money on creating several different tests, having a single program per state, or even county, could end up being very cost effective. Also, many people say that it improves student achievement. “93% of studies on student testing, including the use of large-scale and high-stakes standardized tests, found a "positive effect" on student achievement” (Phelps, Richard P.) is a quote from a study conducted over the span of 100 years worth of research on the topic of testing that presents this point well.
Another way that shows the positive aspects of standardized testing is the fact that it is implemented in other...