Standardized Testing: A Civic Controversy

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Standardized testing provides a controversial civic issue in the contemporary academic systems. Standardized tests are tools used by instructors to decide the learning capabilities of the students. In giving the tests, teachers hope to be in a position to derive relevant information on the students’ abilities to hold close some elements of study that they have been exposed to in the study room settings. These standardized tests are collectively given to students to make certain that there are no cases of unfair advantages given that the students are the topics of a similar curriculum. Still, recent times have viewed an increase in calls for the scrapping of the standardized tests. The initiative will allow several benefits to both the teachers and the students.

Arguments Against Standardized Testing

Firstly, there is need to scarp standardized testing because it is invalid and inflexible. The standardized tests such as SAT ignore the social and mental implications that have the potential to influence the performances of the students (Meador). Essentially, the development of the tests is predicated on the assumption that the students share similar mental capacities and are thus able to perform well if they commit themselves to studies. Other times, students who were previously performing in their classes fail the standardized tests because of anxiety. There is need for the development of testing that considers the different experiences and capabilities of the students. Taking personal factors in to consideration would provide a level ground for the assessment of the student’s progresses in their subject classes (Hirtzel). For instance, a child with a history of abuse is less likely to perform well compared to her peers. Such an individual should be provided with a platform that empowers them. Additionally, students with disabilities are less likely to perform well in the standardized testing since the learning process fails to give them the appropriate support that they require to overcome their challenges. The standardized tests portend a threat to the performance of the subject student.

Additionally, standardized testing inspires questionable teacher ethics. The major role of teaching is to allow the transmission of relevant knowledge to the students. However, often times teachers commit themselves to information which will be tested in the exams with the intention of ensuring that the majority of the students pass the tests (Meador). In this race, meaningful learning is impeded. Learning is diverse and should incorporate several elements. The limitations imposed by standardized testing on the learning initiatives limit the range of knowledge that the student is able to grasp. The resources that are committed to preparing students to perform well in the standardized tests, would have been diverted towards the initiatives that impart real and applicable knowledge in the student (Hirtzel). Syllabus preparation should not be predicated on the standardized testing. Instead, there is need to consider several other factors in the teaching process to ensure that each student is allowed the opportunity to grow in learning and to benefit from their education pursuits. In the race to prepare the students for the tests to be undertaken, creativity and learning vigor is impeded. Learning becomes a monotonous venture with a pre-defined ending.

Thirdly, scrapping the standardized would allow teachers the freedom to engage appropriate albeit different approaches in the teaching initiatives which may promote learning in the classroom settings (Hirtzel). Schools often dictate the approaches that are engaged by the teachers in teaching the students. Thus, they influence all teaching initiatives towards the preparation of the students for the exams. The initiative is propelled by the fact that a higher performance in a given school would inspire higher funding (Meador). The desire to secure more funds by the school, results in increased pressure for the teachers to derive maximum performance from the students. The students thus become an opportunity to the institution rather than a resource. This is unethical given that it does not consider the benefits that students derive from the learning initiatives but rather the financial benefits that the school derives from increased performance. The pressure that is placed on the teachers and the students alike derails their commitment to the venture which often times result in the development of negative perceptions and attitudes towards teachers.

Arguments for Standardized Testing

To counter the arguments of the detractors of standardized testing, proponents of the initiative offer several justifications. To begin with, they contend that standardized teaching provides a tool of guidance to the teachers and the students in the learning process (Hirtzel). However, learning should not be limited to a specific scope since the teachers and students present different capabilities and talents. As a guide, standard testing provides an imposing tool to both the teachers and student. Instead of guiding them it fuels their pressure to meet the standards that have been imposed by the testing process (Hirtzel). Alternatively, the proponents argue that standardized testing provides a platform through which parents are able to monitor the performances of their students. Still, the tests measure the ability of the student to retain the elements taught in class. It does not reflection their creativity and talent and thus provides an inadequate medium by which the parents can adjudge the performance of the students.

Conclusion

Standardized testing should be scrapped because it is unethical and imposing. It piles pressure on the teacher and the student to ensure maximum performance and thus impeding the successes of the learning initiatives. Additionally, it does not take into consideration the different talents and abilities of the students. The success of the learning initiatives is dependent on the student’s abilities to apply knowledge in their daily lives and not in their performance in the standardized testing.

Works Cited

Hirtzel, Ashley. “Why Common Core? The controversy over standardized tests”. WRVO, May, 2014, http://wrvo.org/post/why-common-core-controversy-over-standardized-tests. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.

Meador, Derrick. “Examining the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing”. ThoughtCo., September, 2017, https://www.thoughtco.com/examining-the-pros-and-cons-of-standardized-testing-3194596. Accessed September 23, 2017.

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