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Test Essay

908 words - 4 pages

The use of standardized tests is not something new. Everyone should know about their importance and the emphasis put on them, along with the stress that follows. There are multiple choice tests, high-stakes tests, and the dreaded time-limited tests. It is true to say not all tests are created equal; however, each and every one of these tests has serious flaws. Standardized tests are unfair because they fail to measure students' abilities, they cause an unnecessary amount of stress, and there are too many incentives to teach the test.
According to Educator Bill Ayers, “Standardized tests ignore the most important characteristics of being a good learner or a good person. "What they can measure and counts,” he says, “are isolated skills, specific facts and functions, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning" (Pollard). All test takers answer the same questions under the same conditions which results in quick and superficial answers because all students reason and process differently. The formatting of standardized tests does not allow students to think deeply. The student may have a reasonable explanation for why they chose their answer or may have understood the question incorrectly, yet there is no way to tell. This makes it almost impossible for the test to determine the students’ full abilities. Roger Farr, a professor of education at Indiana University says, "I don't think there's any way to build a multiple-choice question that allows students to show what they can do with what they know" (Pollard). Consistent with Farr, the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan thinks, “State assessments in mathematics and English often fail to capture the full spectrum of what students know and can do. Students, parents, and educators know there is much more to a sound education than picking the right answer on a multiple choice question” (Evans). Timed tests can make it even more difficult for students to provide enough knowledge into all their answers. The burden of trying to complete the test in such a short amount of time is hard on the student and may obscure their intended answers.
Pressure placed on students to perform well ends up obstructing the very thing standardized tests are designed to assess: how much students know. School in general causes enough stress on students with daily assignments, homework, and quizzes. Now, standardized tests come into play with whether a student is going to be able to walk across the stage and get their diploma and if they are going to be promoted to the next grade. Some of the most intelligent students just do not test well in general, while others might have just had a bad day. Sometimes just the fact that the test is timed may be what hurts a person’s score. Some...

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