Exams do not gauge ability

8 August 2016

In college the majority of students would agree that education is a top priority. These Students full capabilities are being based solely on standardized testing. The purpose of these exams is to gauge a student’s knowledge on a variety of subjects. The type of exam may differ depending on class, grade, age, or degree. Students are required to take these exams in order to see what their capabilities are in terms of what class the student is taking. Now although standardized tests do show what the student memorized the night before, they do not show a student’s true capabilities.

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For instance, standardized testing does not measure critical thinking, creativity, resilience, or persistence. Which are all very important aspects in a meaningful education. These exams also fail to take in account the test anxiety. Also multiple-choice format on these exams are not a fair way of gauging ability either. A more reasonable option for determining students’ capabilities in universities and college settings would be portfolios called “The Student Portfolio”. These portfolios would consist of coursework and all records recorded by the teacher.

The students themselves would put these together at the end of each year or term. During the school year the student and teachers would gather all information, assignments, and projects done by the student and place them in the portfolio by section. Each subject or course the student went through that year must have its own section in the portfolio. Once the portfolio is finished the student is then required to present their portfolio and reflect on assignments done previously in the year.

This reflection process not only shows how well the student did in each subject during the year but also shows in which area that student learns best. Testing this way allows multiple sections of the curriculum to be assessed. Such as writing, critical thinking, creativity, group work, as well as persistence. And finally testing this way ultimately avoids or drastically lowers test anxiety or stress. Now proponents of standardized testing would argue that standardized tests are objective, reliable and a normal way of gauging a student’s ability.

The US Department of Education argues that test taking is normal; stress and anxiety rarely affect the students taking the test. Also another argument stated by the supporters is that the multiple-choice format is fair and that the questions now require enough thought and problem solving that guessing is not possible. Although there are many more debates that proponents will argue in support of these exams. The majority is easily refutable. “For instance, standardized tests are not reliable. According to ProCon.

A  non profit website that presents facts for both sides of controversial issues, A 2001 study published by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and “caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning… ” These exams are far from objective. The only objective thing about these standardized tests is the scoring. Everything else such as how the questions are worded, how tests are administered, and which answers are marked as “correct” are not objective.

The outcome of these tests can easily be affected by stress and anxiety. Stress and test anxiety cannot only affect the way you think, it also can affect the way you see things. The exam then becomes a test on how stress and anxiety affect you versus how well you know the material on the test. “On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that “test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.

Next, the arguments that multiple-choice format is fair and reliable are easily refutable. The multiple-choice format on standardized tests is a very poor form of judging students ability. Any person can receive a decent grade on any exam with multiple-choice format. Multiple choice format exams are not a test on the material and how well the student knows the subject; they are a test on a student’s ability to guess. These exams are actually called multiple-guess by some students.

This form of testing is also unreliable because it is easier to recognize an answer in front of the students instead of having to think of the answer on their own. In conclusion, standardized tests should not be used and the “student portfolio” should replace them. There are far too many arguments against standardized testing to consider them fair and reliable. And to say they gauge a students ability is a lie. Education is extremely important according to the majority of college students. But gauging the student’s abilities should not be based off results from standardized tests.

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