Cons of State Standardized Testing

This week for my blogs I have decided to look at some of the pros and cons of standardized testing. This is a huge topic and a pretty significant issue so I have decided to split it up into two blogs. For this blog, I will look into the negative aspects of standardized testing. ProCon.org has compiled a list of the disadvantages of standardized testing; the list goes something like this…

1.Standardized testing has not improved student achievement. Apparently the US has slipped from 18th in 2002 after No Child Left Behind was passed to 31st place in math scores, with a similar drop in science scores and no change in reading scores. Ouch…if we can’t help or students keep up on an international level then that hurts the nation’s chance at a successful future.
2.It’s an unreliable measure of student performance. Test score improvements are temporary and have no “long-term changes in learning”. We should be teaching students life-long skills which will help them be successful in the future, not spending all our time cramming students heads full of information which they will not, nor need to, know in the future.
3.Standardized tests are discriminatory. Students come from diverse backgrounds and are to answer questions written for the majority. English Language Learners may know the information, but fail because they aren’t fluent in English. Also, students with disabilities are expected to perform the test in the same fashion as non-disabled students. This just isn’t fair. Kids are told they are “dumb” because can’t process the information in the same way as the majority.
4.They measure a small portion of what makes education meaningful. Standardized tests can’t measure creativity, critical thinking, motivation, enthusiasm, leadership, resourcefulness and many other valuable skills. Being intellectually “smart” does not mean that you will be successful. So many other skills are necessary for learning and success to happen.
5.“Teaching to the test”. Rote learning ends up replacing engaging teaching practices. Instruction time is spent on preparing students for test taking when it could be better spent promoting a love of learning.
6.Tests are narrowing the curriculum. Schools are cutting time spent in science social studies, and the arts to focus on reading and math. Not every student’s strengths are in reading and math. Students can’t be limited and need to experience diverse curricula so they can find their strengths.
7.Older students don’t take tests seriously. Tests don’t affect students’ grades, so they just “have fun”. I remember so many of my fellow classmates blowing off CSAPs because they didn’t affect them personally, but test scores DO affect teachers and school funding.
8.Testing is expensive. “According to the Texas Education Agency, the state spent $9 million in 2003 to test students, while the cost to Texas taxpayers from 2009 through 2012 is projected to be around $88 million per year.” AND the testing industry is notorious for making costly and time-consuming scoring errors. This is amazing to me…All I hear about these days is budget cuts and underfunding for schools, but we can spend this amount of money on testing??? How about using some of that money for the students directly?? Education is supposed to be about the students, right???
9.Multiple-choice format encourages simplistic thinking. There are only right and wrong answers which don’t apply to real world situations. This contributes to the “creativity crisis” and ultimately hurts the country’s economic future. No dilemma in the real-world work place can be solved by multiple choice, we need to develop student’s critical thinking and social skills.
10.Standardized tests are an inaccurate measure of teacher performance. Test scores are used to “reward and punish” teachers even though they…
11.Standards and assessments vary from state to state. Since each test is different, there is no basis for meaningful comparison. Its comparing apples to oranges; how can you determine anything from skewed information?
12.Testing robs students of their childhood. “NCLB’s mandate begins in third grade, but schools test younger students so they will get used to taking tests.” This makes me really sad. I don’t know how a student can develop a love of learning when they are being drilled and killed with black and white information since they begin school. This is why no one values education these days.
~Marie

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