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Standardized Testing: The Real Threat To American Schools By Alfie Kohn

1569 words - 7 pages

Standardized testing requires student to answer same or similar questions with given answer choices that are often in multiple choice or true or false form. Dating back from 2200 B.C standardized testing is recorded being used in China ,where people applying for government jobs had to take an examination ,testing their knowledge on confucian philosophy and poetry.During the mid-1800s in Industrial Revolution ,soon after child labor laws were enacted taking children out of farms and factories and putting them into schools the use of standardized test was introduced to America in Boston. Standardized testing was being used to compare schools and teaching quality; Boston’s program was soon ...view middle of the document...

Therefore the whole idea of standardized testing is not about measuring the level of thinking of students, but is merely a sorting device of which students are better test takers. (Kohn, Alfie. “The Real Threat to American Schools”.Tikkun. Mar/ Apr 2001: 25t. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 02Apr. 2014.)
The trust many of America's population places in standardized test scores is both astonishing and disturbing, mostly because standardized test scores are inaccurate in testing ,well, everything. The purpose of standardized test scores were original a way to to decide where to place a student or what kind of help was needed ,but now standardized test scores have twisted into a faulty way of judging students, teachers and schools. Test scores are often now being published in news and used as a basis for flunking students, denying diplomas and deciding where school funding should be spent. Tests that carry large amounts of weight on students lives do not properly measure a student knowledge because of stress and anxiety. If a student is so worried about the outcome of a test they might ‘choke’ also known as panicking and forgetting everything. This is a common occurrence among students who are given test that have the power to impact their lives or with students whose parents who believe that one test has that kind of power. In 2002 the Sacramento Bee published an article claiming “ test related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-A exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it”( "Standardized Tests" 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.).From caring too much to simply not caring at all, at the other end of the spectrum students do not care about the outcome of the test and or simply guess. These students tend to already be labeled as ‘below average’ or viewed as failures so on test they see no point in trying to improve.
The multiple choice and true or false format is another reason that standardized test do not properly measure the intelligence of a student. Multiple choice and true or false questions do not allow students to form their own answers or explain solutions ,therefore the test cannot provide an accurate sense of the student’s understanding. These forms of test either overestimate students or underestimate them. Often students that test well usually cannot explain how they got the answer they did or why it is right. Meanwhile, standardized tests are unfair to the students who are brilliant thinkers,but do not test well. Wrong answers do not always mean an absence of understanding , just like correct answers do not alway indicate understanding.
Though multiple choice and true or false format present many problems it is easier to agree on a correct answer of a basic criteria multiple choice question than a on deeper level of thinking, essay question ,therefore making the tests easier and faster to grade.This belief that...

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