Standardized testing in the United States started in the mid- 1800’s (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org). This kind of testing was originally created to measure students’ performance and progress in school (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org). In recent years, the public school system has relied heavily on the information this test provides, in doing so creating controversy. Other than being a student myself, and participating in multiple standardized exams such as, CSAP, ACT, and SAT, I do not have much background knowledge on this debate.
The debate over standardized testing has raised this inquiry question: What are the effects of standardized testing on the United States public education system? I believe that the effects that standardized testing has on the US public education system is good and bad. Within these articles if found common themes, including elements of objectivity and subjectivity, a rise in cheating, and measurement of student success. The different articles I used for my research were: “Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Standardized Tests”, by Noliwe M.
Rooks, an associated professor at Cornell University, from Time Magazine, published on October 11, 2012 by The Time, Inc. The thesis of this article is “Standardized achievement tests unfairly advantage white and Asian students and disadvantage the rest” (Time, Ideas). The second article used was, “Is the Use of Standardized Test improving Education in America? ” by ProCon. org, updated on October 15, 2013, published by Procon. org. The thesis of this article is, people who believe that standardized tests are good for the US believe that the tests are fair and objective.
On the other hand, people who believe that standardized tests are not beneficial for the US believe that tests are not fair or objective. The third article I researched was “Do Standardized Tests Show an Accurate View of Student’s Abilities? ”, by Concordia University in Oregon. The thesis of this article is standardized test could be beneficial to the US, but only if they are accurately showing results and “used to guide children in their learning” (Concordia University). The fourth article I used was, “Test Our Children Well”, by Ezekiel J.
Emanuel, a vice provost and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, from The New Republic, created on October 7th, 2013, published by New Republic. The thesis of this article is if the US school systems used the “testing effect” (TNR) they would be able to used standardized tests effectively and without controversy. The last article I used for research was, “Are Exams Bad for Children? ”, by Stephanie Schneider, a public school teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Matt Christison, a high school principle, in the New Internationalist, in July/August 2013.
The thesis of this article is both teachers arguing for and against standardized testing and the effects it has on students and education. Most of the articles I found acknowledged subjective risk in standardized testing. Source number one, “Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Standardized Tests”, states that because subjective testing has become a growing issue in standardized testing, if the US stopped “setting different educational benchmarks for groups based on race or income”, we would not have to “rely so heavily on standardized tests to begin with” (Rooks).
Source number two, “Are Exams Bad for Children”, agrees that if the US was that interested in testing the success of all children, “then we would need to be clear that the current testing regime does nothing to address racial and economic inequalities and instead reinforces them” (Schneider 30). Source number three, “Is the Use of Standardized Test Improving Education in America” disagrees, stating that “standardized tests are inclusive and non-discriminatory because they ensure content is equivalent for all students” (Standardized Tests – ProCon.
org). Source number three also claims, if the US was to create alternative tests for minorities or students with disabilities we would only create “two, un-equal systems, one with accountability and one without” (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org). Another theme presented in multiple articles was a rise in cheating. Source number one, “Do Standardized Tests Show an Accurate View of Students’ Abilities”, believes that because the push to do well on standardized tests is such a priority, “some institutions consider cheating” (Concordia University).
Source number two, “Is the Use of Standardized Test Improving Education in America,” disagrees, explaining that cheating by administrators and students is not an issue, and not a reason to terminate standardized testing. This source also clarifies that “[i]t is likely that some cheating occurs, but some people cheat on their tax returns also, and the solution is not to abolish taxation” (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org).
Source number three, “Test Our Children Well”, proposes a solution that by using the “testing effect”, “teachers could develop new tests questions each week for each class…” (Emanuel 10) and by doing so, will eliminate the opportunity for student to cheat on exams. The last theme I found presented in these sources is measurement of student success. Source number one, “Are Exams Bad for Children? ”, explains that we can find better ways to measure a student’s learning abilities.
Stephanie Schneider says, “More reliable methods of assessment can provide meaningful information that assist student learning, rather than a test that often serves as a punitive device” (30). The second source, “Test Our Children Well”, agrees that the “…right kind of assessments—frequent, short tests—can actually yield big educational benefits” (Emanuel 9). Source number three, “Is the Use of Standardized Test Improving Education in America?
”, disagrees, and believes that the current standardized test system we use today “…[is] reliable and objective measures of student achievement” (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org). Source three, also believes that “[s]tandardized tests provide a lot of useful information at a low cost…” (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org). Based on my findings and answering the question, what are the effects of standardized testing on the United States public education system? , the effects of standardized testing are both good and bad.
Throughout the sources I researched and the common themes I found, some of the good effects presented were that standardized tests provided a good measurement of a student’s achievement, are objective, and hold students and teachers accountable. On the other hand I found that some believe that standardized tests only measure a fraction of a student’s abilities. They also believe that these types of tests cause a rise in cheating, so that the information they are supposed to provide is not even accurate.
After my research I have concluded that the effects that standardized tests have on the United States public education system are more negative than positive. Since the 1800’s (Standardized Tests – ProCon. org), standardized tests have been responsible to measure student success. In recent years, controversy has struck, asking, what are the effects of standardized testing on the United States Public Education system? Throughout my research I found common themes which include the following; elements of objectivity and subjectivity, a rise in cheating, and measurement of student success.