The Case for Standardized Tests: how are they Better for the School Systems and Students

Standardized testing costs the United States approximately 1.2 billion in dollars, and inflicts to students, a tremendous degree of anxiety and stress. Standardized testing had been utilized in the United States since the 1920’s because teachers and the government believed it was an accurate and reliable way to test students, they were gravely mistaken. Author Gail Gross has argued that standardized testing still holds value and it benefits schools and students, however Gross fails to mention the negative effects it inflicts amid students, as well as the whole school itself.

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Standardized testing should be eradicated from public school systems because it stresses students, comes with unfair advantages, and it pressures teachers to teach to the test.

Firstly, standardized tests, like any weighing and imperative academic tests, requires a great deal of studying and preparation. Accompanying this great deal of studying and preparation is the grave amount of anxiety and stress. Because of the stress the students have due to the intensity and the pressure of the test, it causes them much of an emotional ambush within themselves, (a) comparing self-performance to peers, (b) considering the consequences of failure, (c) low levels of confidence in performance, (d) excessive worry over evaluation, (e) causing sorrow for their parents, (f) feeling unprepared for tests, and (g) loss of self-worth (272 Ronald E. Johnson/Jerrell C. Cassady), clearly students having these types of thoughts will have a hard time with the test as well as a difficult time with their overall test performance. Furthermore, due to the all the stress of preparing, studying, pressure from parents as well as teachers students performance decreases significantly and their fear of failure causes them to be mentally abused, individuals with high levels of test anxiety will experience severe performance declines only in situations that activate the state test anxiety factor. Common situational factors include low self-confidence for the specific task, perception of the exam as posing a high level of threat, or an awareness of being underprepared for the exam (274 Ronald E. Johnson/Jerrell C. Cassady), these factors cause the students to feel even more so pressured and in real life situations might cause them to have self-esteem and confidence issues. Identically, not everyone is planning on going to college and kids at a young age aren’t even thinking about it yet they still deal with the stress and anxiety of the test, It’s far more worrisome that even students who don’t plan to continue their schooling after high school, and even students who are much too young to be thinking about college are subjected to a barrage of standardized tests that don’t provide much useful information (4 Alfie Kohn). Likewise, according to a survey taken by the American Psychology Association (APA), students ranging from 13-17 have reported high levels of stress mostly due to tests such as the SAT and the ACT also known as standardized tests. American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern as adults, according to a new survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA) (Sophie Bethune).Finally, standardized testing causes students a crucial amount of stress and anxiety that may not only affect their performance on the test in a bad way but their life as well, stripping of their confidence, and skills, as well as time which they could have utilized to do something more imperative than stress over a test that does not even measure what claims to.

Secondly, standardized testing has another huge flaw in its grand design, it carries unfair advantages that no given tests should carry and this flaw strips the test of its power. There are companies that construct standardized tests and like any massive company they want profit. They also assemble programs and classes which favors the economically privileged that can afford them giving them the advantage when it comes to taking the test because they’ve already learned the test formats bringing their chances of getting a good score higher than those not having that privilege. It also depends on each school, whether or not they have the resources and money and provides students the right type of materials. Everyone is different, in where they’re from, what they’ve learned before hand, experiences they’ve had, ways they learn, however standardized tests treats everyone equally which in this case is unfair. Standardized testing treats everyone as if they’ve had the same amount of education, resources, and just life, but that just isn’t true. Everyone learns differently, everyone is from different places in life, and not everyone has received the same education, If one school has certain advanced textbooks, technology and other test guides that other schools cannot afford, then the more fortunate schools have an evident unfair advantage since their quality of education will be higher than others (Brittany Kokoszka). A teacher may do an incredible job explaining material to students, however, if he or she does not have the resources that other schools have, then the students’ educations are compromised (Brittany Kokoszka), the unequal distributions of resources and funding for has compromised the educational opportunities of many in the states thereby making standardized testing very flawed, inefficient, and unfair. A teacher may do an incredible job explaining material to students, however, if he or she does not have the resources that other schools have, then the students’ educations are compromised (Brittany Kokoszka), the unequal distributions of resources and funding for has compromised the educational opportunities of many in the states. Moreover, while the ones being able to afford get a higher score, there are those who don’t have the same advantage thereby making the test unfair and a friend to the economically higher status people and whether a student gets into college should not be determined by their financial status, By having this opportunity, those kids will most likely receive higher scores and thus possess a significant unfair advantage over others who cannot afford such luxuries (Brittany Kokoszka). To summarize, standardized test carries the unfair advantage that gives the rich more control over school systems and allow their kids a higher chance to get into a good college, while the ones that aren’t able to afford such advantage makes it difficult for them get the chance to go to that prestige college. Standardized testing is very flawed in the sense that it thinks everyone has the same amount of education, learning and experiences.

Thirdly, standardized testing not only affect students and their future but teachers and their paycheck as well. Due to the fact that standardized testing is such a humongous deal in The United States, teachers are feeling the pressure by their bosses to heavily focus their curriculum into teaching to the test. Standardized tests are used by school administrators and the public to evaluate students, schools, and teachers. Teachers having the most power over students and their learning, receive this immense degree of pressure from the administrators and the public that obligates them into teaching to the test. This leads students into learning information they wouldn’t use in real life, and memorizing things they don’t use in an everyday life. One of the reasons why teachers are so stressed that they end up teaching to the test is because of the No Child Left Behind Act Legislation like NCLB has raised the stakes for testing, potentially tying student performance to teacher salaries and job stability, and dictating what teachers teach (Stephanie Overman). Everyone is motivated by money, and teachers are no exceptions, this act forces teachers to believe that their most important job is to prepare the kids for standardized testing, neglecting to teach basic life skills. Due to teachers being obligated to teach to the test, it makes standardized tests even more so flawed. This type of complex teachings causes not only teachers but students to stress out as well, derive them of their motivation and will. Consequently, students will forcibly memorize how to answer specific questions in certain ways in order to achieve the highest score. However, this defeats the purpose of these exams”the students should not have to take practice standardized tests before the actual examination. These exams are meant to test a student’s accumulated skills and ability to apply their knowledge”not their ability to robotically approach a problem and repeat a process taught specifically for answering questions on standardized tests (Brittany Kokoszka). Teachers having been pressured to teach to the test, almost only teach the things that show up on the tests, neglecting other useful methods that they may benefit to learn about. This time could be better utilized by doing something that can actually stimulate a child’s brain in a way that they can learn about the useful things needed for life. This time spent training students to answer questions correctly could be better spent by learning valuable material to succeed in the future, including how to do income taxes (Brittany Kokoszka). Due to the teachers being pressured to teach to the test, they are limited to teach the things that we might need in life and instead they teach us how to better take a test. Students should acquire unique skill sets from their teachers because each teacher’s teaching style is different; however, teachers are restricted on what they can teach due to standardized testing and a preset curriculum (Brittany Kokoszka). The only skill sets students usually acquire from teachers is how to take the test which is one of many reasons the standardized test is flawed. Overall, standardized testing not only messes with students but threatens and controls teachers as well. Standardized testing causes students to know and retain things they don’t have use for, acquire a skill set that is essentially idle and useless when it comes to real life and its problem.

Consequently, a proposed solution consists of school boards around the nation should boycott against the use of standardized testing, as well as using the student’s scores to judge schools, teachers and students which only makes matters worse. The people should all sign petition for a standardized test free nation, Canada has done it, The United States, shouldn’t fall behind. A new type of examination should be developed as a better alternative to this flawed design, an examination supported by research to prove effective.

In conclusion, standardized testing has been utilized long enough and needs to be eradicated. Standardized testing clearly does more harm to a student than the good it claims to do. Standardized testing causes students to stress, teachers to feel the pressure to teach to the test and carries the unfair advantages that students shouldn’t have to deal with.

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