The Usefulness of Standardized Tests When one is employed at a school, and starts noticing loads of confidential boxes being delivered, “Smarties” candies and “Smart Pencils” being distributed to students, and last but not least; witnessing that the stress of the school is rising…You know it’s testing time. This all happens at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Many tests take 1 to 2 days when others, have a duration of 2-3 weeks. As an employee of an elementary school, I have had many years of preparation and participation of such events.
All employees must sign affidavits before administration of tests occur, and all materials are delivered and picked up on a scheduled timeframe. “Standardized Tests are a type of exam that assess the student’s capability on the basis of multiple choice questions (MCQ’s). ” (Pandey) There are many issues (pros and cons) associated with these exams. In this assignment, I will point out a few pressing issues in retrospect to website articles and personal experiences being an administrator of such tests. Let’s begin with focusing on the fact that we are the United States of America.
The US Department of Education has always had standardized tests. But they have been more so enforced since the Bush Administration in 2001. In 2001, President George W. Bush’s’ Administration passed a very important bill, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, (or NCLB). “NCLB is the latest federal legislation that enacts the theories of standardized – based education reform. Which is based on belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. (Wikipedia) The NCLB Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The act does not assert a national achievement , but goals are set by each state. “However, NCLB has a required, supposed outcome that each school aged child in America will be proficient (at grade level) in all contents of education by the year 2014. ”(Wikipedia) To set forth this goal, the use of standardized tests are implemented.
As mentioned in the latter, standardized tests have pros and cons. In which first, I would like to put out some pros to standardized testing. The first reason I believe standardized testing is good is the fact that “it improves the accountability of the teachers, students , and schools“. (Messerli) Mandatory testing forces the teachers to teach the curriculum they are supposed to set forth by the standards. Standardized tests show where the teachers and programs are excelling and where there is room for improvement.
The following reason, is the most important. “Tests motivate the students to “want” to learn the curriculum, rather than just memorize the subject for tests. ” (Messerli) If students know that they are to be tested on material and the results are published in their student portfolio, it makes them want to do a good job. The decision on where a student is placed the following school year is based on the previous year’s standardized test score. For example, in the school where I work at, there are a lot of English Language Learners(EL’s).
If a student is not Redesignated (R’d) out of the bilingual program in elementary school, when they get to junior high…they will not be allowed to take any fun electives, such as choir, acting, or sports. They will simply be put in a bilingual program class that will help with the language build up. So, students want to de well so they have choices in the future. The last fact to think about why it is good to agree with the standardized test is, “that knowledge is cumulative, so a student doing poor early, can end up behind indefinitely”. Messerli) In simple terms meaning, that if a student shows signs of weaknesses in areas on the test, that child can receive help through special educational services to help them learn and gain proficiency. However, as much pros there are to accept standardized testing, there are cons as well. Which is my main point of view. I am against the standardized testing of students. My main reason to support my thoughts are the fact that standardized testing is biased. “There are many issues which make taking these tests biased against students.
One issue being a language factor. ” (Messerli) “There are questions on the test that are used that are seen s culturally biased. An example is, if a question states for the use of proper English “The man got himself a dog” vs. “The man got hisself a dog”, inner city youth may choose the latter. ” (Messerli) There is also the fact that many English learners simply don’t understand the questions in comparison to not knowing the subject. A big con against standardized testing is that students in failing school districts or school will be punished.
Not all the United States is the same. There are different socio – economic scales. I will give you an example of my work and personal life. The school where I work at has great educated teachers that are deserving of their positions.. They try their best to put forth lessons in which involve the students and get them eager to know the subject and master it. However, for the past three years the school has been classified as “school improvement” due to the low APY (school proficiency level score) index score.
The school is classified in such a manner because the student perform low on their standardized test. Not because the teachers are not teaching correctly, but because the area where the children live promotes that. Ninety (90%) percent of the school is classified as migrant or poverty stricken families. They are affected by abuse in the home, the presence of drugs or alcohol, and gangs. Many parents do not support their children’s education because they are either working, or the parent themselves is not educated enough to even help their own children.
If the socio-economic status is bad, it is hard for a child to focus and succeed in their studies. However, in my instance, my son was diagnosed with a disability. I live in a good neighborhood. I have enough education behind me to sustain a decent job and dwelling. I support my son with any matter to help him succeed. The outcome is that my son is able to learn at the rate in which he should. One last reason these tests are not a good indicator is, the fact that there are many mistakes. Mistakes within the test and mistakes made while correcting the tests.
In many ways these standardized tests are good and bad for our education system and students. The bottom line is this is something that we really have no choice in doing at the schools. It is mandated. However, as Paul Reville, a lecturer at Harvard Graduate School said, “We need to make sure that there are checks and balances and that test results shouldn’t be used exclusively to draw a line. ” (Abel) Web-Works Cited Abel, Katy. “The Standardized Testing Debate”. Family Education. Web. 23 March 2010.