Standardized Test Improving Education in America

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The use of standardized tests became very popular after the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB) was passed in 2001. The NCLB required yearly testing starting in the 3rd grade, in all 50 states. US students fell from 18th in the world in math in 2000 to 31st in 2009, with a similar drop in science and we haven’t had any changes in reading.

One argument is that standardized tests are a fair and measure the ability of students, they make sure teachers and schools are held responsible for the performance of students. Others say the tests are not fair, the test narrow curriculum “teaching to the test,” and that unnecessary testing doesn’t help produce innovators and critical thinkers. Many of these assessments result in significant consequences for students, teachers and schools.

Low scores can prevent a student from progressing to the next grade, teachers getting fired, and schools closing. While high scores will get schools federal and local funding, and are used to reward teachers and administrators with bonus payments.

During my research I was looking for who exactly were talking, what they were saying, and what did certain individuals benefit from being on that side. The people who were talking were parents, students, and school administrations (principals, teachers, and superintendents).

I never found anything from the actual test makers, and I was surprised to see that students had a voice in this debate. For the most part, students, parents, and the school administrators were against using standardized to track academic success. There were small cases were I found people who were superintends who were for it. I assumed they worked in school districts where the students do relatively well on these assessments. The students are against taking these test because they are taking away from their daily learning, and adding more stress to their work load that doesn’t benefit them at the moment. The schools are against it because teachers are being evaluated by the test and teachers whose students aren’t passing the test aregetting fired. Good teachers are getting fired because their students are performing low on test, which leaves the mediocre teachers who are

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teaching the test to get students to pass, but aren’t instilling other necessary factors into the curriculum.

Parents want what is best for their children which is whythey are siding with student and schools. For the opposing side, they don’t see a problem with the way the system is because their school is performing high. Throughout my research I found a lot of opinions; why they don’t agree with standardized testing measuring academic achievement or ways they believe the system could be changed to be more effective. This isn’t such a hot topic, so there isn’t a lot of action taking place, mainly just people talking about it. What I found to be amazing is that out of everything one who has an opinion on the subject, only the students have took upon their selves to do something about it. Students across the country have put together organizations, organized walk outs, opting out, and are teaching and spreading awareness to their fellow peers. I believe with this topic, there has already been so much discourse going on throughout the years, talking isn’t going to get anything done. It now takes action, which what many students are now doing.

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