Standardized Testing: Measurement of Academic Achievement

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According to Albert Einstein, Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. This is exactly the case with standardized testing, a method of consistent multiple-choice testing that is the same throughout, including the time allowed to take the test and the questions on the test (Burrows 1).

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The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 requires all U.S. government-owned schools to administer annual standardized testing to measure the academic progress of all of their students (Chubb 10). The U.S. is the only highly developed nation that requires schools owned federally to complete numerous standardized tests yearly (How Standardized Testing Damages Education 2). The belief of the government, school faculty, and the public is that standardized testing allows a thorough examination of future collegiate success, evaluation of teachers, and assessment of school achievement. But, in fact, standardized testing is negatively impacting the quality of education, is remarkably biased, and is an outrageously ineffective way to appraise student and teacher achievement.

The pressures on schools to perform fittingly on state-mandated tests are being forced to teach to the test through low-quality curriculum and test prep rather than having students think analytically and creatively throughout their primary and secondary education (Chubb 9). For example, students have a pressure placed on them to perform satisfactorily on the SAT to get accepted into their college of choice (Moore et al. 49). This causes many students to spend undue amounts of time preparing for the test through Pre-SATs, test preparatory courses, and study booklets and in turn, drives students away from their regular schoolwork to prepare for these tests (Moore at al. 49). Alexia Garcia, a 2013 graduate of Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon says [Testing] felt really irrelevant and disconnected from what we were doing in class (Rizga 40). Multiple choice tests are efficient for scoring hundreds of tests at one time through robots, which causes most administrators of standardized tests leave open-ended or extended response questions nonexistent which require critical thinking because they require human readers(The Room 241 Team 1). The consistent multiple choice questions on standardized tests cause poor assessment of students’ ability. Additionally, less time is being spent on the sciences, social studies, and the arts to prepare students to take the tests in math, reading and writing (The Room 241 Team 1).

Minorities, English-learners, and low-income students suffer the most from these state-mandated practices, and, consequently, they are all more likely to be denied a diploma, be placed in remedial programs, or be forced to be held back in their grade (How Standardized Testing Damages Education 1). For this reason, standardized testing remains intensely biased towards the English-speaking, white middle class.

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