The Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

2228 words - 9 pages

“It’s awful. I just cringe every time I walk in the teacher’s room because these tests are the only topic of conservation in there, and it raises your anxiety just to hear how scared everybody is. A few years ago, I really loved teaching, but this is intense… I’m not sure how long I can take it “(Barksdale-Ladd, Thomas 390).

Two major classifications of standardized testing are norm-referenced and criterion-referenced testing. These two tests are the most frequently used and well known method of testing in the United States as well as numerous other countries in the world. The paper will go in detail about the history of standardized tests along with views from the testing companies, school administration, teachers, researchers, students, and parents.

History

Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Another form was seen in the late 1970s and early 1980s with a short-lived competency test (Linn 3). Horace Mann developed a test to administer to a group of students in the 1800s, his intentions were to make judgments about how the student was doing at their current level and determine if they would be capable of advancing to a higher level. Testing has changed in many ways since it first appeared with the beginning of public education led by Horace Mann. “The purposes of standardized testing have gone from an equalizer of opportunity to a tool of segregation used separate socio-economic status, wealth, and privilege” (Holmes 2).
Today testing is heavily relied on by school systems in the world. Testing was kicked into high gear in 2001, when the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was created. The act was created to help schools meet 100% with all groups of students in America by the year 2014, along with goals that needed to be met. Standardized tests, in theory, “set high standards for what students should know and be able to do” (Cunningham, Sanzo 1). The testing companies make millions off of standardized testing in the school districts.

School District/Administration

Accountability is the main concern with the administration and districts of schools. “To be accountable can mean to be responsible, to be answerable, to be blame-worthy, or even to be liable” (Wiliam 108). Who should the blame of student’s low test scores be placed on? This is one of the big questions surrounding standardized testing. “Assessment is a key process in education” (Wiliam 107). Assessments can provide data on students and their comprehension of instruction. Therefore, there should be no cause for concern except that the test may not hold valid data about the student’s achievement in the classroom.
Nevertheless, standardized tests are “state-regulated or legislated sanctions of significant consequence such as accreditation, financial rewards, or placing a school in receivership” (Abrams, Pedulla, Madaus 22). Receivership means that the state would take control of the school. “In 2001, 18 states rewarded schools with...

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