What do Standardized Tests Prove?

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by Patrice on March 19, 2011 · 2 comments

in Techniques

The education system uses standardized testing to measure not only school and teacher performance, but to rank students and make it easier to place the tested child in the proper grade level. Because it’s geared to identifying the norm, many parents and educators alike question the need for standardized testing. As any single mom knows, there is no such thing as the ‘normal’ child.

Many children who know the material on a test thoroughly are not equipped to handle the stress that the test environment causes them. Therefore, the test results will not show the retention of their knowledge, but rather reflect how they reacted to the test.

Some educators point out that it’s also unfair for progress to be measured simply on how well a group of students taking a test responded in a particular point in time. Even young students have off days. A single series of tests cannot be expected to show actual educational and learning progress, they contend.

Standardized tests are very restrictive in their time limits. Some students never complete a test in the time allotted. This could mean that the child had a problem understanding the questions, did not know the answers, or that they were so thorough in their answers that the time allowed was not sufficient in allowing the child to answer as completely as they felt they had to.

Standardized tests that serve to measure the quality of the school system and are used to gain funding for the school are also a disservice to the students, according to many educators. As teaching methods and techniques are changed to target the tests themselves, other areas of learning are neglected. Many areas that are not tested, like the arts and current events, fall by the wayside as teachers teach to the test instead of using all of the teaching methods at their disposal.

While many single moms take great satisfaction in knowing that their child scored in the higher percentile on any given day, others know that it doesn’t really reflect the true learning ability of her child. The standardized test shows only how her child responded to the test on one particular point in time in relation to the other children taking the test.



About Patrice

Patrice Campbell is a freelance writer working from the Denver area. Campbell started her writing career in the 1980’s, working for several Wisconsin local papers as a news, human interest and features writer, as well as a photographer.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ally March 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

We parents want to know how our children performs in school. But as we know children doesn’t really understand the importance of test, we only want to track on how they are developing and what they know and can do.


Savannah March 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

Sometimes I feel like it’s not good to put too much stock in standardized tests … if a kid does well on them, then that’s great, but if they don’t, it’s not the biggest tragedy in the world.


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