November 6, 2014
English 101 068
Standardized tests are a common way to evaluate the academic achievements of students, teachers and school districts. They are used in countless areas such as civil services, the military, and medicine, but mainly standardized tests are associated with academic performance. Several arguments in favor of these tests have been put forward as well as a number against. This method of monitoring and evaluating academic success has both benefits and drawbacks.
Standardized tests are generally used in the field of education to assess the academic performance of students. Two commonly known types of standardized tests in the United States are the SAT and the ACT. The SAT is the most widely used and most heavily researched college admissions test in the country (Caperton).The SAT evaluates skills in vocabulary and mathematics, while the ACT has more to do with a broader range of knowledge and includes additional subjects, such as science.
Research and experience show that standardized tests are generally good at measuring students' knowledge, skills, and understanding because they are objective, fair, efficient, and comprehensive (Walberg). Tests help remove bias that some teachers may show towards students and make the evaluation process more objective. This is commonly achieved by using special automatic machines that score exams. By using these machines, the potential of human error is decreased, or even eliminated.
The exploitation of the system of standardized testing is linked to a number of issues. Many feel that tests do not provide accurate evaluations of a student’s knowledge and learning capabilities. Studies indicate that standardized tests reward superficial thinking and may discourage more analytical thinking (Harris). Besides, the emotional state of students may be weakened due to test-taking; the constant competition may create excessive stress and test-anxiety. A person who gets a poor test score may become discouraged from pursuing additional academic success. Students with disabilities, students with lower economic status and students of different nationalities may even me discriminated against.
Standardized testing is a common method of evaluating those skills to which tests are targeted, which reduces prejudice, bias, or the potential of human mistake.