Subject and Purpose of Research

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a test refers to a series of questions, problems or responses designed to determine knowledge, intelligence or ability of a person while testing is a basis for evaluation or judgment. A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, manner. in standardized testing, the same test is given to all examinees under the same conditions .standardized tests are regarded as more fair and thus they are more popular in educational institutions. Standardized testing can be done using multiple-choice tests, true-false questions, essay questions or any other form of assessment.

The most used type of standardized tests are multiple choice questions and true-false items because they are easy, inexpensive and quick to score.. Standardized tests should be reliable and valid. Validity is often assessed along with reliability. Reliability refers to the extent to which a test is able to report similar results using the same measurements.

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Reliable tests should be dependable to report similar results when taken by similar groups over a period of time. Validity refers to the extent or degree to which the tool measures what it claims to measure and is more difficult to control. Background Testing is used the world over to test the aptitudes of students but sometimes they fail because you cannot judge a leaner’s intelligence by using tests only because different people are endowed with different skills and talents therefore a test can never be a substitute for looking at a student’s overall accomplishments. We cannot deny the fact that in schools we have naturally bright students, fast learners and slow learners and those who have to put lots of hard work and time to excel academically. the education system is also being wrecked because of misplaced trust in standardized tests .

Rankings based on test scores don’t show improvement in student performance over the entire year or the students background information. Schools that only look at the student’s performance miss vital pieces of information that have a great impact on the students performance, for example parents income, the language of learning in school, how well the schools serve students needs and whether they have enough resources to cater well for the number of students. Only then can we get a meaningful and bigger picture of the students who should be ranked high on the list. School should be about much more than test results and which students can help to keep their schools at or near the top. It’s supposed to be about learning not rote memorization of facts then reproduce them during exams.

As students move from one level to another, and go on to post-secondary education, they are expected to know certain basics. They need to be able to answer mathematics, reading comprehension, writing, and general science questions at a certain grade level, or the school did a substandard job of educating them. While standardized tests are important criteria for measuring long-term academic achievement, they can’t tell how well students know the basics required or if they will perform well in colleges and at any job without having to take remedial classes to catch up wih others. If schools decide to teach the test instead of letting students explore their interests and talents, it should be taken as a sign that the district has made a choice to adhere to a different set of priorities than those of both students and parents. A teach-the-test policy is a red flag for a potential problem since there’s no reason the basics being measured on the test can’t be learned in parallel with pupils’ self-exploration.

In this case, standardized tests help figure out whether the schools are effectively teaching the knowledge they’re required to impart to their students. Educators are on the run due to pressure to show their effectiveness. Unfortunately, the chief indicator by which most communities judge a school’s success is student performance on standardized achievement tests. If a school’s standardized test scores are high, people think the school’s staff is effective. If a school’s standardized test scores are low, they see the school’s staff as ineffective.

In either case, because educational quality is being measured by the wrong yardstick, those evaluations are erroneous..Standardized tests cannot measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, or other valuable dispositions and attributes. What they can measure and count are specific facts and function, content knowledge, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning. Standardized tests are useful tools for assessing student achievement, and can be used to focus instruction on desired outcomes, such as reading and math skills.

However, instructors overuse and misuse these tests and this harms teaching and learning by narrowing the curriculum. According to fair test, a research group, when standardized tests are the primary factor in accountability, schools use the tests to define curriculum and focus instruction. This disfavors higher-order learning. While it is possible to use a standardized test without letting its contents determine curriculum and instruction, frequently, what is not tested is not taught, and how the subject is tested often becomes a model for how to teach the subject. Also, uncritical use of standardized test scores to evaluate teacher and school performance is inappropriate, because the students’ scores are influenced by three things: what students learn in school, what students learn outside of school, and the students’ innate intelligence. The school only has control over one of these three factors, what students learn in school hence the school ends up producing superficial learners and kills the curiosity of a student discovering things on their own making learning become passive and with anxiety.

Supporters of standardized testing respond that these are not reasons to abandon standardized testing in favor of either non-standardized testing or of no assessment at all, but rather criticisms of poorly designed testing regimes. They argue that testing does and should focus educational resources on the most important aspects of education – imparting a pre-defined set of knowledge and skills – and that other aspects are either less important, or should be added to the testing scheme. Despite all these criticisms against standardized tests, there are betterr ways of evaluating student achievement and ability. These include: good teacher observation, recording of student work throughout the year and performance -based assessment. These will provide useful material for teachers, parents, the community and the government. Audience The primary audience for my paper will be policy makers in the higher education sector especially those concerned with the systems of evaluation in this country, I am aware that this will cause considerable concern especially because the use of standardized tests seems to be the only way of ranking students quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

In as much as this is true, and that my audience will be faced with the challenge of how else to evaluate students cost effectively, they should consider the fact that this affects all of us either directly or indirectly. this is because continuous use of this will end up in producing individuals who are not creative and cannot think for themselves yet we expect them to come up with new policies for the development of this country. I plan to include notes from reliable sources so that this will show them the possible ways of overcoming this problem. I believe my audience will read my work out of genuine concern on the methods of evaluation in our institutions and take the necessary measures to try and reform the educational policies by reviewing them and lobby for change. Topics to investigate The main ideas to research will be the issues dealing with evaluation in institutions of higher learning .

Some questions my readers may be concerned about will be if there is any other way of monitoring assessment and if there is ,Is it one that is valid and reliable? I plan to initiate my research paper with an introduction giving a brief background to the topic and additional information. I will split the body into three major paragraphs explaining why the topic is important, what will happen if not solved and what te audience should do after reading. Methods I will rely majorly on journals written by renowned scholars with additional information fro internet sources. In this paper, the validity and reliability issues are addressed as well as suggestions on how to overcome them.Qualifications I am currently taking a course on the use of standardized tests as a tool of evaluation and have learned much about it .I have considerable amount of information, I have attended lectures on the same and come across information concerning evaluation and I am familiar with this topic.

Work schedule I plan to work as soon as my proposal is approved and I have the sources ready to start working on my first draft which I will submit and continue researching on this paper .Upon receiving the draft, I will correct it, re-submit it and ensure that my sources are well cited. After that I will review it, add any vital information and then submit the final paper. Request for approval I ask that you approve my topic and my approach to it .I am also pen to any corrections and suggestions you may have. I hope I will be granted permission to create a research paper based on the failings of standardized tests as a tool of evaluation.