Evaluating Standardized Evaluations
In 2015, about 20% of students opted out of standardized exams.
That is approximately three million children from primary through middle school. With that many students opting out, it is time to think: What is the importance of standardized tests? Just about every school in the country administers standardized tests to their students. Lasting nearly a week, these tests make students push themselves beyond their limits. Standardized tests should no longer be administered because not only is it biased unlike how it is advertized, but it also creates stress amongst the students and teachers alike and promotes a negative attitude toward learning. To begin, standardized tests are actually non-objective.
A student who had performed poorly on a standardized exam may treat his or her teachers rudely and prejudicially (New York Times). A topic on the test may not have been in a teacher’s curriculum, but the student would not have known that. The student treat their educators biasedly because of their performance on the exams. For example, a teacher may not have been able to teach his students about multiplying because it came after the test. The student may dislike the teacher because he was not taught what was on the exam, without knowing the teacher’s position. That being, that the teacher did not have enough time to teach the information.
Likewise, standardized tests will be biased no matter how little the evaluator knows the student (Kohn 3). Evaluating a writing piece is not simply a right or wrong answer, thought has to be put into grading an essay. The fact that people will differ in opinions is self-evident. Questions such as, “Does this work represent strong writing?”, are not straight-forward answers, and will generate different answers amongst different evaluators. Further, bigotry could play a large part in these judgements.
An evaluator could judge a student worse if a writing piece is not from the point of view the evaluator favors. In multiple choice questions, where there is only right and wrong, the questions could still be biased. Specifically, the person who wrote the question that favored a group, and the question would reflect that opinion. Also, standardized exams do not take external factors into consideration (Columbia). A student may simply be a poor test taker, where he or she chokes on big exams. Evaluators would not be able to know this, and grade a student the same way they would a regular student.
Likewise, a student’s growth is not taken into consideration. Even if a student has come a long way from the beginning of the school year, that would not be reflected in his exam. Others may say standardized exams allow for parents to be able to see how their child’s intelligence compares to other students across the country (Columbia). Though the test allows one to compare scores, it does not accurately assess a student. Students may have disabilities, like dyslexia, dyscalculia, or ADHD, that would interfere with their ability to understand the contents of the test.
For example, a student that has dyscalculia, which is characterized by difficulties understanding mathematics, would perform poorly on a math exam. Parents may compare that student’s scores, which are inaccurately portraying his or her intelligence, to one who performs flawlessly without help. Evidently, standardized tests do not seem to treat every person fairly, and is actually quite biased. Thus, standardized exams should not continue to be administered. Moreover, standardized tests create stress among the student body and educators.
Districts are threatened with “loss of federal aid” in order to have “95 percent of eligible students take the annual test” (New York Times). This would stress out teachers because a loss of wealth in the district could result in getting laid off. This may cause a lot of stress amongst the faculty. Furthermore, performances on the test can cause stress for students (Columbia). Students can feel pressured to perform well on the standardized exams by their peers. Being stressed about a test may cause one to perform poorly.
Teachers have begun to ‘teach the test’ due to the extreme stress over student performances (Columbia). Educators could feel intense stress placed on them for their students to perform well, so they will simply teach the information that is on the test to relieve some of the stress. This inhibits a student’s ability to explore and learn about topics. Some may believe that standardized tests are bias free and have not(Columbia). It may organize the information, but it may do that too well, and is also the result of stress. As ‘organizing the information’ is actually just educators ‘teaching the test’ due to stress of student performances.
This worsens a student’s experience in the class as well. Axiomatically, both students and teachers have to deal with unnecessary stress caused by standardized exams. Likewise, standardized exams promotes a disliking to school, educators, learning, and the exam itself. Some schools have made their students’ recess shorter so that they are able to prepare for the exams more (Columbia). Students enjoy their free periods of the day where they do not have to work.
Cutting into this time will cause students to dislike the tests even more than they already do, and may even create a disliking towards the teacher. ? of students in primary and middle school are opting out of standardized tests (New York Times). Students clearly dislike the test in the first place. If the students did not like the test before they were exposed to the stress of the exam, it would promote a strong disliking to these tests. Teachers will teach the test if they want to be sure that the students will perform well (Columbia).
Having an inhibited learning experience will make it bland and boring. Others may say that these tests give students and teachers goals to achieve (Columbia). One could see that the process of achieving this goal is corrupted. Too many factors are at play while the student is preparing and taking for the test that would cause the student to have less effort to achieve the goal. Clearly, standardized exams worsen the likability of school and learning.
Ultimately, standardized exams should be discontinued because they are biased, they create unnecessary stress among the student body and faculty, and they make students dislike learning. Even if students try their hardest, theses exams can be incredibly difficult. Hours on end are spent taking these tests, and after they are done, hours more are about worrying how well one did. Standardized tests can make or break academic careers, so students should be tested fairly. By performing poorly on these tests, students will not be able to get economically stable occupations in the future. All because they were labeled as unintelligent since they performed poorly on a test that did not assess them correctly, they will not succeed in life.
Children should be able to look to a future where they are affluent and are able to enjoy life, not addressing the problems with standardized testing will allow this to never happen. Works Cited Kohn, Alfie. “The Case against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools.” (2000): 1-23. 2000. Web.
25 Apr. 2016. “Opting Out of Standardized Tests Isn’t the Answer.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Aug. 2015.
Web. 25 Apr. 2016. University, Columbia. Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing (2013): 2-3.
Columbia University, 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.