Standardized tests are exams to measure a students educational performance. The reason why these tests exist is so that the state can determine how well the education system is functioning and the comprehension of a student's intelligence. These tests are arguably a problem, because not everyone feels that standardized testing shows the students' intelligence or not even cover what has been taught to the students in class. However, those who are in conflict with this idea would agree "that standardized tests permits administrators, teachers, and parents the occasion to observe factual indications of the students' performance, which has a chance that could lead to course alterations" (Popham, p.16). This creates the problem that this testing could not be the best way to test students. Standardized tests are not a dependable approach to evaluate someone's intelligence.
The leading form of standardized testing in America began in 1845 when Professor Horace Mann invigorated testing students' knowledge in academics in public schools. In 1914, Frederick Kelly designed the multiple-choice test. In a couple of decades the typical public-school student took at least three standardized tests before graduating. The largest guidance on standardized testing in the United States was the induction of the college entrance exam. Followed by the College Entrance Exam Board in 1900, which established a sequence of exams that had to be written and prove the student's understanding of academics. By 1926, colleges then began using the Scholastic Assessment Test, a multiple choice exam; this made grading significantly easier because of this is also the first introduction that a machine could read and grade a test resulting in a more efficient way than a human could. At the end of 1941, the College Board removed the written entrance exams and only the Scholastic Assessment Test is used.
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Shortly after, the government created multiple testing in different fields to help prove the applicant understands what they have learned. The issue is mainly is when testing the student's capabilities and to see how they rank with other regions. Numerous teachers use different approaches and emphasis on different issues. What a teacher would think is significant could possibly not be what other teachers think is significant or even what the state thinks is sufficient. "A student might learn more about what the teacher deems essential, but are assessed on what the state reveals is obligatory."(Phelps, p.28) The idea of standardized testing appears to work, but unfortunately does not demonstrate how intelligent a student is.
The reason why the state does not change this is because of a few obstacles. The first reason is the human nature of being lazy. "The grading system has persisted for many decades due to the indolent reliance of machinery". (Ayers, p.116) The second reason is because the School Board believes it is the only way to prove what the person knows on an equal ground. "They would not know how much of an accomplishment a student's grade point average scores are because not all teachers grade subjectively, whereas this grants everyone an equal opportunity in accomplishing the curriculum."(Ayers, p.117)
These reasons have flaws that can easily be remedied through alternative mind sets. "This indolent can be improved when introduced to the factual reaction, cooperative reasoning, and the readiness to make an effort for a student's sake." (Ayers, p. 116) The "fairness" of these tests is also an illusion and not telling the whole truth about how teachers grade differently "The only subjective aspect of standardized tests is the scoring, which is concluded by a machine. What substances to contain in the test, and the diction will calculate as correct answers, how the test is managed, and the uses of the outcomes are all choices made by subjective human beings" (Ayers, p.118) This puts into perspective that teachers are human beings as well as the test makers.
Intelligence comes in many different methods and society has placed the different cultural backgrounds in to social classes. "There will be immigrants who will be taking these tests, and if they get a query that is relating to snow and they have never encountered snow because of their background, then they will be in a great detriment."(Powell, p.47) This brings the problem that a single test cannot cover all the variables. The people who create the questions would have to acknowledge everyone's sociocultural concept and social experiment idea. This is where people get knowledge from their culture and the social environment they are exposed in. These issues are a huge obstacle between critics, who are the driving force who oppose standardized testing, because they say, "Standardized tests do not reason the changes in social and economic upbringings between students because the simple response to the question is that no test can accommodate the alteration in social societies." (Powell, p.48)
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High to middle class culture frequently have the luxury to have people in their house hold to aid them with their homework. The lower class society unfortunately does not have this. "That the tests favor the advantaged over the disadvantaged while claiming to be neutral; and that the tests are inherently biased against those who are from a poverty region than the concepts of the richer culture." (Ravitch, p.172), who is an independent high school teacher who is confronted with people in this problem. She has established that this is "partially due to the parent's lack of education." Thus the parents are not prepared to help their children with homework. Thus, they place a lesser value on education. This can create a great transformation and let the sequence to repeat.
One could also debate, "That the assessments do not truthfully measure the educational performance of female students. Females persistently earn higher grades than males in both high school and college, but their average scores on standardized tests are lesser" (Popham, p.15). There is a possibility this happens because women are generally more social than men or the questions that based on culture are more subjective towards men. Either way this shows how standardized testing is not very accurate in measuring a person's knowledge.
Another argument against standardized testing is how a student must perform. Answering standardize testing is only through multiple choice questions. A student may be cautious about this because some tests have answers that are true based on the situation, but one is the 'correct' answer. This leaves the student puzzled about their results. "The opinions against the multiple choice question tests should let the individual to provide explanations for an answer they have selected". (Phelps, p.29) This is a controversial part of the test because students who come from different cultures are going to have a different reasoning on why they chose that answer. This brings the topic back to what the students have learned in class and how it has been embraced.
Curriculum is said to be pretentious by the standardized test. "That instructors are going to teach what will be throughout the test and unfortunately the material not on the test is not shown". (Ravitch, p.179) It is also a fact that students have to be testing for long periods of time and resulting in being tired. A former student was interviewed about on his past ACT score and stated "In high school I was not taught all the information that would be on the test and our test scores were not up to standards."(Phelps, p.34) This was not just because he was not taught what was on the test, but also because many students were not cautious about captivating the test due to being stated that it will not affect their grade. Then, students did not perceive the test as an importance.
While the comprehension of how people acquire knowledge and reason has advanced immensely, standardized tests have stayed unchanged. The test makers still accept that information can be broken into distinct pieces and that people learn by captivating these separate amounts. Today, perceptive and developing psychologists recognize that knowledge is cannot be in distinguishable pieces and that people learn by attaching what they presently comprehend with what they are trying to acquire. If they cannot dynamically make the significance out of what they are undertaking, then they will not acquire knowledge.
One the best ideas to change standardized testing is to have a strong teacher observation, certification of the student's work, and have performance based evaluations, all of which include the direct assessment of real knowledge responsibilities which will deliver useful material for teachers, parents, and their future careers. Many nations already do this such as international countries, like Finland. The procedure of these methods instead of standardized testing. "Teachers are being given a double standard meaning: teach one method, but your students will be tested by another" (Powell, p.12). Their accurate capabilities will not be exposed if they are being hindered by subjective questions.
Standardized test are a good concept to prove a student's aptitudes and to see how students scores compare to others, but they seem to not be testing in a way that is truly reliable. These tests have many students who take them with no caution because it does not affect them directly. The test makers continue this trend without realizing society change and so must standardized testing. The most appropriate way to value a person's ability is in a how they feel comfortable and not being discriminated on where they are from. The idea of standardized testing appears to work, but unfortunately does not demonstrate how intelligent a student is.
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