Standardized Testing Benefits

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Standardized tests have been administered in schools around the world as a way to compare students’ academic performance. Many have argued that these tests are a fair way of concluding whether or not a student is academically inclined. Although standardized tests have many benefits, they do not determine a student’s intelligence.
Standardized tests became a part of American education in the 1800s. W. James Popham, the former president of the American Educational Research Association, described standardized tests as “any test that’s administered, scored, and interpreted in a standard, predetermined manner.” Before the “No Child Left Behind” Act passed in 2002, America ranked eighteenth in mathematics. In 2012, the United States ranked twenty-seventh.
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Most of the questions are multiple choice which do not allow a proper evaluation of a student’s deep understanding of a topic. In subjects such as mathematics, a standardized, multiple choice test would be ideal. Math problems usually have one correct answer. However, multiple choice questions for reading comprehension force one correct answer. The reading questions on standardized tests usually include words such as “inferred,” or “reasonable” which can be subjective. If something is inferred, they are using logic and reason to form an answer. Reading a passage can result in many different interpretations of the meaning of the text and can include an opinion. For example, if a passage is about a depressed high school teen and the author gives few details about the cause, it is left to the reader to infer the reason. One reader could think the main reason is his home life, but another reader could think it is because he is being bullied at school. The author did not specifically state those two as a reason, so it is left to the reader to distinguish the one correct answer. The reader's interpretation of the passage could differentiate from the test-maker’s intent which would result in an incorrect answer on a very subjective question. (“Pros and Cons of Using Various Types of Assessment” 1) Some standardized tests have open-response questions requiring the students to write …show more content…
Around April, schools start cramming for the upcoming end-of-year test. Teachers give practice exams, tell the students ways to improve their test scores, and abandon the normal curriculum. In an effort to show their teaching ability, teachers “teach to the test” to ensure their students do well on the exam. In many cases, teachers can be reprimanded or ultimately fired due to poor test results from their students. Former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, once said, “You all know what’s happening with No Child Left Behind; the test is becoming the curriculum, when it should be the other way around.” (“Hillary Rodham Clinton, JD” n.p.). Teachers take away true learning from field trips and other hands-on learning to drill for the standardized tests to prove they are teaching effectively. Some people argue that standardized tests are helpful because it shows the areas in which a student needs to improve and how a student compares to other students throughout the state. It also reveals areas where teachers need to improve their teaching skills. Standardized testing allows parents to receive information regarding their child’s academic level. Standardized tests give the same level of difficulty to every student to ensure fairness. When a teacher grades a test, it can be biased, but a standardized test is usually graded electronically and fairly. (“Standardized Tests”