Pros of Standardized Testing

As promised, here are the listed pros to standardized testing from ProCon.org…

1.Tests are good for achievement.
93% of studies have found student testing have a “positive effect” on student achievement. I’m not really sure what this means, or how they determine these statistics, but facts are facts I guess.
2.Standardized tests are reliable and objective measures of student achievement. Multiple-choice tests are graded by a machine and aren’t subject to human subjectivity or bias and require a significant amount of thought and calculation; it’s not just filling in a bubble! They can provide “highly reliable test scores” and an “objective measurement of student achievement.”
3.Standardized tests are inclusive and non-discriminatory. Content and testing conditions are the same for all students; so minorities and children with disabilities aren’t singled out. That’s something that’s important to kids.
4.”Teaching to the test” can be a good thing. Focusing on essential content and skills eliminates time-wasting activities that don’t produce learning gains. State standards are established for a reason, and with or without standardized testing I think it is essential that students master these skills.
5.Standardized tests are not narrowing the curriculum. Instead, they are focusing it on important basic skills all students need to master. Standardized testing forces teachers to make state standards priorities in their instruction, which isn’t a bad thing.
6.Parents think standardized tests are improving American education. Sometimes as educators it’s about pleasing the parents
7.Students believe standardized tests are fair. “A June 2006 Public Agenda survey of 1,342 public school students in grades 6-12 found that 71% of students think the number of tests they have to take is “about right” and 79% believe test questions are fair.” What’s most important is that students are benefiting from these tests and it’s good to see that they don’t abject to them.
8.Most teachers don’t think testing is compromising their teaching. “73% of teachers surveyed in a Mar. 2002 Public Agenda study said they ‘have not neglected regular teaching duties for test preparation.’” As long as test preparation doesn’t interfere with student learning, what’s the harm?
9.Testing is better preparing school students for college. They require kids to learn more things in a given amount of time and hold students to remembering things over the whole year. Skills which do come in handy in college courses too.
10.Each state’s progress on NCLB tests can be meaningfully compared. Even though tests are developed by states independently, state scores are compared with results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress which ensures that each state’s assessments are equally challenging. State standards are not congruent so why does testing have to be?
11. Standardized tests help students advancing when they have not met the academic standards of their grade level. Test make it easier to keep track of students so no one can slip through the cracks and it hold students accountable for their learning.
12. Many objections are really objections to NCLB’s use of test results, they aren’t actually to standardized tests themselves. In fact, information from tests is valuable and can inform policy-makers about the progress of the educational system. Testing isn’t the problem.
…I think it’s always important to understand both sides of an argument, no matter how strongly you feel about it.
~Marie

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