An Investigation of the Importance of Standardized Tests

Abstract

This research will be about whether the standardized test is a fair system to be used to measure students’ success both academically and professionally. The researcher will explain that it is important because not all students are able to test at the same level. Some students have a learning disability, and some students get so stressed out about the test and fail because of the pressure being placed on the test.

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The problem the researcher will be addressing is that the standardized test is being used to measure students academic and professional success. The hypothesis the researcher will be examining is that, should the standardized test determine every students’ success. The researcher will be using the mixed method to address this topic. The researcher will be using graphs, charts, surveys, and also interviews. The researcher will conclude that standardized tests should not be a predictor of students’ success academically and professionally.

Introduction

Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. (Churchill) For too long the success of students has been based on the standardized test, based on what the College Board believes every student should know. Your success should be based on you as an individual student, not the standardized test. Every student’s success should not be based on a test that is made for only a specific group of students who have the materials to pass the test, and the test is designed to help them pass. The standardized test should be made so every student has a chance to succeed. Some students have a learning disability, these students learn different ways and it is not fair that the amount of success will be measured by a test might not be mentally ready for. For some students, the test is just too stressful, and the thought of what failure can do bothers and evidentially will cause the student to fail. Nearly judging students based on tests scores is not fair.

History

The standardized test has been in existence for as long as the 19th Century. It was created to determine students’ past academic achievements and future potentials. (According to The Room 241 Team) It is supposed to determine achievements and potential but instead, it is measuring students’ success rate. That is one of the problems with the standardized testing. The importance has been so stressed in the past that standardized tests still presently exist, but exist for the wrong reasons. The standardized now is like a life or death test, but in this case, a fail or succeed test. The College Board should try to help students succeed more not measure the level of their future success rate. In the future, this might still be a problem due to the current situations going on. It could be more emphasized on success. More tests might be created even but hopefully, the tests are for the good of all students.

Problem Statement

The standardized test was created in the 19th Century. It was created to see what students were capable of based on the materials being learned in the classroom. The problem is that the materials on these tests are not the same thing being learned in the classrooms. Not only is it not fair to the students who do not have the proper materials to prepare for the test, it is also not fair for those students who have learning disabilities. Having different learning abilities so why is there not a different test for them to take according to their abilities. Some students suffer from testing anxiety. All these students’ success, academically or professionally should not be based on a test but the student as a whole. The students get too stressed because of how the importance of the test is stretched; like if do not do well on the test then just going to be a failure which can cause the student to lose confidence and end up failing the test. Not everyone can be great test takers. Some would prefer to think outside the box, but when limited to just a standardized test how can their true potential be known. The College Board can do better on improving the measurement of the standardized test. But the main problem is that the standardized test is a cultural bias test. It was created for different people who learn a certain way, and everyone does not learn the same way. “”Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Einstein) The College Board keeps giving the same test and expecting a different result.

Statistical Findings

Figure 1. Shows the scoring rate due to family income, starting from $0-$20k up to $200k. This graph shows that the standardized test is economically biased. It is made so that only a select group of people will be able to perform well on it. It is visible above in figure 1 that higher family income correlates to preparedness for the test. The less the family income is the lower the scores are. Also, the higher income families are doing well especially in writing, and the lower income families are performing below the average national rate. Preparation is very important when taking standardized tests but when there is no money to prepare the results will be like the ones in the figure above. The family’s income can affect a students’ future, that is the reality of it.

Figure 2. Shows that the standardized test is culturally biased, due to scores of different races. The graph above shows the results of different ethnicities test scores and how some races excel over the others. As seen in the graph, there is a significantly low score range between the black race and the other races. The attention of the College Board needs to be called to these facts. The standardized test should not be the only determinate of student’s success, especially when the test is not designed for every student’s way of learning. Depending on the race the scores vary. There are other variables tied to the races, such as the type of environment the races live in. The environment is very important and comfortability, but most importantly preparedness. It seems that the White non-Hispanic race was the most prepared. The College Board should have requirements to help all the races’ preparedness.

Case Studies

This case study shows how standardized testing can affect a student mentally and have a breakdown due to the overt importance of the test. Dawn Neely-Randall has seen many things in her 24 years teaching in Ohio schools, but 2014 was different. With the advent of the Common Core State Standards in Ohio, students had to take a pilot version of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test on top of the standard Ohio Achievement Tests. This amounted to almost eight hours of testing in a single week for Neely-Randall’s fifth graders. One student couldn’t handle the stress of all of these tests and broke down in the middle of one. She had a complete meltdown, Neely-Randall told the HPR. And I could do nothing to help her, I couldn’t help her with the test. I could just let her take a little break then, but then she was going to run out of time, and she was watching the clock, she knew. This proves that at times the standardized test can be the cause of a students’ failure.This case study shows how the standardized test can affect the learning and teaching environment. Standardized testing has facilitated an incredibly toxic environment in our schools and in our discourse about education, ultimately turning schools from learning centers to testing factories, according to a professor. That emphasis on standardized testing has corrupted the focus on learning, turning school-aged children into experimental pawns, he says. This emphasizes the burden teachers and students are being forced to carry because of the standardized test. It causes too much anxiety, mental breakdowns which evidently lead to a physical breakdown.

Counter Argument

There are a few good things when it comes to standardized testing. Some pros are that it gives students a chance to show the ability to go beyond the classroom. It allows the students to show strengths in different subjects, but it also exposes the students’ weakness. Some cons include the way the test is designed; the test is designed for only a few races to be able to succeed. A pro might be that it shows what students have learned in the classroom, but it does not show what students learn outside the classroom. It is simply an inefficient way to measure a students’ success. (Popham) The standardized test involves things like comprehending but different students comprehend differently.

Resolution

Standardized tests have played a role in students’ success academically and professionally for too long. It is time for other things about a student to be recognized; like the extra curriculum activities, the students participate. Another thing that can be looked at is student behavior; a student could have a very high score on a standardized test but be a bad student outside of testing. The College Board should consider the fact that there is more than one way to test a students’ ability to be successful. Some students can go above and beyond in classrooms but cannot apply the materials being learned in the classroom to the tests. Also, the College Board can finalize that depending on the type of student it is, there will be a test for that type of student. The student should have an opportunity to be the best possible and maybe the test is only allowing so little. Some students like to think outside the box, now those are the students that can be future test makers. These students can make the future standardized tests to Oladeru 6 fit every student’s learning abilities because these students will understand how it felt to be in that same position. Conclusion Standardized tests should not be a predictor of students’ success academically or professionally. For too long the standardized tests have been used as a determinate of students’ success, it is time for that to come to an end. The standardized test for one is a culturally bias test. Studies showed that more black students have the lowest score than any other race. The standardized test is a test that allows only a specific group of students to know the materials to pass. Some students are financially unable to materially prepare for the test. Other students get anxious due to the overtly stretched importance of the effects the test may have in your life whether you pass or fail. Although the test can show what a student has learned in the classroom, not all students are learning the same things or even the same way. The standardized test must not continue to be a determinate of students’ success academically or professionally.

Works Cited

(63), dmilash, and screenname (66). Insanity: Doing the Same Thing over and over Again and Expecting Different Results. – Steemit. – Steemit, Stemmit, 11 Aug. 2016, 5:59 am, steemit.com/psychology/@dmilash/insanity-doing-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again-and-expecting-different-results.

Gillmore, Meagan. The Problem With Standardized Testing. Education for Today and Tomorrow | L’Education Aujourd’hui Et Demain, www.teachmag.com/archives/9990.

Mulholland, Quinn. “”The Case Against Standardized Testing.”” Harvard Political Review The Evolution of Rap Comments, Harvard Political Review, 14 May 2015, harvardpolitics.com/united-states/case-standardized-testing/.

Popham, W. James. Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality.Manipulated Kids: Teens Tell How Ads Influence Them – Educational Leadership, ASCD, www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar99/vol56/num06/Why-Standardized-Tests-Don%27t-Measure-Educational-Quality.aspx

The Room 241 Team. Do Standardized Tests Accurately Show Students’ Abilities?Concordia University-Portland, Concordia University-Portland Room 241, 5 May 2018, education.cu-portland.edu/blog/news/do-standardized-test-show-an-accurate-view-of-students-abilities/.

Southeastern Louisiana University. “”Standardized testing creates ‘toxic environment’ in schools, professor says.”” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2013. . “”Winston Churchill Quotes.”” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2018. 14 May 2018. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/winston_churchill_124653

Zumbrun, Josh. SAT Scores and Income Inequality: How Wealthier Kids Rank Higher. The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 21 Jan. 2015, blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/10/07/sat-scores-and-income-inequality-how-wealthier-kids-rank-higher/.

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