Standardized Testing Is Not Effective Essay

2395 words - 10 pages

Standardized testing is not an effective way to test the skills and abilities of today’s students. Standardized tests do not reveal what a student actually understands and learns, but instead only prove how well a student can do on a generic test. Schools have an obligation to prepare students for life, and with the power standardized tests have today, students are being cheated out of a proper, valuable education and forced to prepare and improve their test skills. Too much time, energy, and pressure to succeed are being devoted to standardized tests. Standardized testing, as it is being used presently, is a flawed way of testing the skills of today’s students.

Too much time is being devoted to preparing students for standardized tests. Parents should worry about what schools are sacrificing in order to focus on raising test scores. Schools across the country are cutting back on, or even eliminating programs in the arts, recess for young children, field trips, electives for high school students, class meetings, discussions about current events, the use of literature in the elementary grades, and entire subject areas such as science (if the tests cover only language arts and math) (Kohn Standardized Testing and Its Victims 1).

Alfie Kohn, author of The Case against Standardized Testing, recalls a specific incident of how children are being cheated out of valuable class time. He states that a school in Massachusetts used a remarkable unit, for a middle-school class, where students chose an activity and extensively researched it, and reported or taught, it to the class. This program has had to be removed from the course curriculum in order to devote enough time to teaching prescribed material for their standardized tests.

At my high school all students in the tenth grade were required to take the Graduation Qualifying Exam. Many students did not pass the test their first time, and were forced to go through the test up to four more times, and if they did not pass the test in this amount of time, they did not graduate. It is hard to test students in this way since no one was taught the same way all 12 years or learned the same exact things; these differences are why people are different (Popham 2). School is more about testing now, and we have veered away from creative teaching to teach a test. We need to have teachers who inspire kids to want to learn instead of robots who cram information. These tests take away from that creativity by forcing teachers to teach the curriculum one way.
Teachers are being forced to give up their lesson plans in order to prepare students. One teacher told how she had spent considerable time and money assembling books of importance to Latino culture, and how her students had responded enthusiastically to her initiative. Her students, however, would have to wait to learn about the Latino culture:

She was dismayed to see, upon returning one day from lunch, that the books for her week’s lessons had...

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