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Standardized Tests Essay

1537 words - 6 pages

Teachers spend time on the memorization of specific words that will be on the state test, not vocabulary building exercises. Educators have pep rallies that take educational time away from lesson plans and teaching in order to have the students learn cheers expressing how well they are going to do on the state test. Excess teacher and administration time is spent figuring out game plans, but not for teaching students, rather for figuring out how to increase test scores. Meanwhile, when students are truly excited about exploring a topic in depth, they are shut down because there is no time to learn, only time to memorize items that might be on these tests. Standardized tests waste classroom time and do not accurately measure student achievement; they inaccurately measure academic success, are a poor predictor of future success, and do nothing except hinder the learning process of students.

Standardized tests are used to measure academic success, but they are not a fair or accurate measurement tool. If a student is achieving good grades in class but fails to pass a state test, there is obviously a flaw in the system. Many of today's standardized tests are written so that only middle-class, English-speaking students can succeed. Standardized tests are often multiple-choice and rely on mental tasks rather than on spatial or visual abilities. As a result, these tests often reflect a student's disabilities. For example, standardized tests assume that each student will read each question in the same manner. However, research proves that each student processes words differently (Kohn, 2000). The case against standardized tests is not new. Banesh Hoffman, professor of mathematics, stated, "Multiple choice tests penalize the deep student, dampen creativity, foster intellectual dishonesty, and undermine the very foundations of education" (Hoffman, 1962). Many high school students do not even take these tests seriously because many of them are at the same intellectual level as adults and realize that the tests are flawed. Still, they might not consider that these flawed tests might lessen their chances of getting into college. Certainly, one could envision a system of standardized tests where learning is at the center.

These tests are biased and prefer certain groups over others, making them unfair and denying equal opportunity for education. Minority and low income students are affected far more than middle-class, majority students. In fact, if the government persists in making a student's graduation rest on a single test, the result over the next few years could be a scenario that might be “described as an educational ethnic cleansing” (Kohn, 2000). It is unfair to base a school's funding on these tests when clearly any underperforming schools would benefit greater from an increase of resources as opposed to schools that perform at a higher level. Every year 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school...

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