Hot Topic: Standardized Testing

In light of the recent dismantling of the Decatur school board for testing integrity, what are your thoughts on school standardized testing in general?

Is standardized testing preparing our children for the future? If testing continues, will it affect how society functions?
If so why?

Is standardized testing a way to measure inequalities?

– Injustice Assassin

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2 thoughts on “Hot Topic: Standardized Testing

  1. Standardized testing is considered the best way to assess large amounts of students, and I agree with that. I don’t necessarily believe that it is the best way to assess students, especially younger students. This sort of testing promotes regurgitative learning, where students memorize what the test wants to hear, and spit it out on test day, without actually digesting and internalizing the material. Standardized testing already affects how society functions. Education shapes our lives: not just what we learn, but how we learn as well. Form + Content.
    Part of the reason why society as a whole hasn’t yet done away with standardized testing is because that is what everyone knows. That is how learning has always been assessed, so we have no alternative ideas.
    I feel that if we were to change the form assessments, we would have to change the whole education system. We would still need curriculum requirements to be met, so that quality education is assured publicly. There would be a need for smaller class sizes, more teachers, and bigger schools. In order to assess students without standardized tests, teachers would have to spend more time and devote more attention to each student. They would become mentors, which would increase the role of teacher in a child’s life, which could call for another debate on if this is good or bad.
    I believe that standardized testing prepares our children for their educational future because that is what their educational future will consist of, more tests shaped like those they are already taking. I do not, however, believe that it is beneficial to their education. I don’t think that it is a proper assessment of learning for many reasons. Some children have test anxiety and don’t do well on test days. Some teachers get caught up in teaching the test material instead of what the individual students need to know. The bad thing about standardization, is that it leaves no room for uniqueness. Classrooms, and students aren’t manufactured. They are diverse and have diverse needs.

  2. The great question, how do we objectively test students of their knowledge base? Answer: Standardized testing. Seems pretty clear. Next blog please…Ha if it were only that easy. Standardized testing (ST) generalizes too much. ST assumes that these individuals taking these tests are being exposed to the same information everyone else is. Further these tests also assume that all these individuals are masters of the English language, which is curious given the fact the Hispanic population is the fastest growing population in the United States. Not to mention the disproportionate amount of weight placed on these standardized tests in reference college admission. Sure there are moderate correlations between standardized test scores and college success, however to place so much weight leaves minorities, namely blacks and Hispanics, at an extreme disadvantage. Studies consistently show that minorities score significantly lower on average than their white counterparts. Academics contend that the discrepancies cannot be attributed to individual failure alone. Of course, there are (Interestingly enough, women also tend to score lower on math and sciences than their male counterparts. Funny how the seemingly anachronistic gender stereotypes of the late 1800s still manage to remain prevalent in today’s society. We are past the era of biological explanations for social phenomena; as such it would be absurd to attribute the poor test scores to one’s race as opposed to their environment. You’d be surprised how many social scientists have attempted to explain it through biological means in the past.)

    Brown et al argue that there are number of variables that contribute to job success that are just as, if not more important than ST scores. To this end Brown and his colleagues contend that Law School is prime example of the over emphasis on “objective merit” occurrence. The argument is a solid one: being a successful lawyer requires exceptional oral ability, people skills, and persuasiveness, charisma, social awareness, all of which cannot be tested solely through ST. Thus, someone who scores slightly below average but excels in other less tangible criteria will be overlooked. Albeit a simplified example, their argument is a compelling one and similar trends can be seen across several disciplines. All in all, ST can be useful, if and only if, equal educational opportunities are afforded and are not overly emphasized over other important factors. ((Brown et al reference from the book White Washing Race: The Myth of A Color Blind Society))
    -Minority X

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