Standardized testing has assumed a well-known role in recent efforts to advance the quality of education. Regardless of where they went to school or what curriculum they followed, students are tested on the same material, which can be loosely grouped into knowledge domains and skill sets that encompass; natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, reading, speaking, writing, and mathematics. National, state, and district tests, combined with minimum competency, special program, and special diploma evaluations, have resulted in a greatly expanded set of testing requirements for most schools.
By definition, a standardized test is a test where the same test is given in the same manner to all test takers. It is administered and scored in a consistent or “standard” manner. It is designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures and interpretations are consistent, and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. 3 Using standardized tests to perform assessments is beneficial for several reasons. First, because standardized tests yield quantifiable information (scores, proficiency levels, and so forth), and results can be used in screening programs.
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Second, standardized test results provide information regarding an examinee’s areas of strength and weakness. Third, standardized test results allow a student to be compared to age- or grade-peers. And lastly, standardized tests can be used to assess students’ progress over time (e. g. , re-administering tests after the application of an intervention or following the institution of a remedial program the most significant benefit of results from a test given in a standardized fashion is that the results can be documented and empirically verified.
This then allows for the results to be interpreted and ideas about an individual’s skills generalized. Although standardized testing is beneficial in some situations, the validity and value of traditional standardized tests are subjects of increasing debate. Recent studies raise questions about whether improvements in test score performance actually signal improvement in learning. Student’s performance on one particular day and does not take into account external factors. There are many people who simply do not perform well on tests.
Many of these students are smart and understand the content, but it doesn’t show on the test. Many students also develop test anxiety which hinders performance. Finally, there are so many external factors that play into test performance. If a student has an argument with their parents the morning of the test, chances are their focus isn’t going to be where it should be. In elementary schools less time is being spent on sciences, social studies and the arts to make way for preparing the students to take the tests in math, reading and writing.
Teachers feel strong pressure, especially from district administrators and the media, to improve their students’ test scores. With the stakes getting higher and higher for teachers, this practice will only continue to increase. The sad reality is that it fosters an atmosphere that is boring and lacks creativeness. Teachers have such pressure to get their students ready for these exams that they neglect to teach students skills that go beyond the tests.
But despite criticisms of standardized testing, the proficient teachers of today do not accept that their students have limitations, or are incapable of learning any given concept. Instead these teacher work hard every day to make material relevant for their children and develop lesson plans that speak to individual lesson plans. While both critiques and proponents of standardized testing could debate their sides all day, the need to assess students to determine both their progress and the progress of their teachers and schools is undeniable.
Standardized testing evaluates students early in their education on their readiness both scholastically and behaviorally Students and their parents are able to measure at least generally their progress and areas in which they need. Standardized test shape people’s futures, so they need to be created fairly, so everyone has an equal opportunity to have a successful future. While the jury is still out on whether or not there is a better method of determining individual student progress. The need for a common measure to compare students to bring about change is still more present than ever.
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