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by kic
Rated: E · Critique · Educational · #1880738
This is a critique against standardised testing.
Standardized Testing

A standard test is a test in which questions, instructions, formatting and reporting of scores are the same for all candidates being tested. Procedures for creating standard tests are consistent. Standardized test are administered and scored consistently or in a standard manner. The test is administered under controlled and standardized conditions that specify, time, place, process and duration of responding to the provided questions. The term is also used to describe tests commercially prepared tests for nationwide use in order to provide genuine, meaningful and accurate information on level of student performance in comparison to others at the same class, age or grade levels. Lastly the procedure of analyzing scores in standardized tests is in consistent manner.

The number of standardized tests is increasing per each and every year amidst fears of continuous eroding quality and reliability of exams. Standardized tests are mostly multiple choices and deficient of depth and breadth, these tests only measure low order skills in thinking and involve recall of obvious facts. The test condition the mind to shallow thinking. The questions in standard tests are abstract with no connection to reality of life; they are uninteresting and have no capacity to shape the student to the real world concerns. The skills set by questions in standard testing are rapidly rendered obsolete in current economic environment. The necessary skills for current environment at work are located at right hemisphere of the brain. These skills are such as creativity, whole analysis, aesthetic appreciation, complex reasoning, collaborative people orientation and critical problem solving. As a matter of fact standardized tests do not measure these kinds of aptitudes. These right brained skills and abilities are dependent on personal exploration, experience, effective pedagogy, instructor modeling and inspiring curriculum. This is the main reason why private schools in America bother less on standardized tests but rather directly attempt to develop academic skills, creative thinking and problem solving, stimulation of reading and discussion.

Standardized testing is implemented through the participation of school leaders, teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders. In public schools the government participates in implementing standardized testing though provision of finances to buy test materials and equipments. The government provides salary to those involved in setting, administration and marking of the test. The school leaders provide conducive environment for administration of standardized tests. For consistent reporting of results the school provides reporting booklets. To ensure consistent and fair opportunity the teachers inspect that no cheating occurs and when cheating occurs  the victim is punished. The government also requires the schools to submit results of exams done at regular specified intervals.

Standardized testing is bad and should not be used as measure of performance excellence. Standardized tests create lousy learning and teaching. These tests develop children who learn to please someone else rather than learn to know. These children forgets what was learned when the need to please or the danger of not appeasing is past or not there any longer. When a child learns to pass an exam to please the teacher or the parent once the exam is passed the child forgets what was learned. Teaching in standardized test encourages lousy teaching skills and techniques which are memorization rote learning, and drill and kill. This results into shallow, compartmentalized and fleeting knowledge that is ineffective and only creates children who hate schooling. Standardized testing deprives learning’s most important aspects. Learning should be natural and inherently valued. Learning should be pursued with nobody exerting great force and pressure and should be done for its intrinsic value rather than to please somebody. These values of learning can only be gotten by students when choices and responsibility for designing of learning plan is left to the student. The course work should be relevant, specific and practical beyond school. This means making explicit connection between a particular subject and student life. This will ensure students are hooked into learning not for reward or escape from punishment, the student will grow greatly in their intellectual development. The current learning environment, students spend hours learning from abstract, disconnected set of facts that will appear someday in standardized tests.

Standardized testing ruins the brain. Brain development is the critical reason why current testing should be rethought about. By age nine young people have the physical brain in place. Over the next 10 to 12 years brain functions should be actively utilized for effective brain development to reach maximum potential. Structured complexity in classroom, assessment modes and array of choices, varied social grouping all contribute to fruitful brain development. The same is enhanced by creating an environment in which adequate time, physical activity and low stress levels. All of these are sacrificed at the expense of increasing test scores in standardized tests. This beckons danger of creating learners who cannot critically solve problems or think and unappreciative of arts and mystery of the universe. Tragically when these abilities are neglected up to the age of 24 or beyond the individuals fail to fully integrate into intellectual repertoire of a person.

Research indicates that standardized tests increase the rate of fear and anxiety, it is well known that standardized tests are characterized with reward for success and punishment for failing. Fear of punishment after failing increase anxiety and fear. The higher the levels of affective interference and disturbance lower the ability of students to complete low order thinking tasks. The reflexive actions and higher order thinking skills which are crucial for brain development and future employment also become impossible to complete. These conditions make student unable to sleep at night, feel exhausted from stress and emotional wreck due to standardized test in which the performance has far reaching repercussions on teacher, parent and the school. It is a fact that 71%  of schools reports suspending or doing away with art, music, and gym class in order to maximize time for learning and remedial instruction for success in standardized exams. This has a great effect in terms of development of brain, real world skills and fostering intrinsic interest in learning which huge loss to the society and children is. It is ridiculous that this is repeated again and again though it is not working or contributing to effective education program. This can be metaphorically equated to asking children to bang their heads against concrete wall for hours everyday and yet we urge them to bang them hander when we realize it is not working.

Academic excellence cannot be measured best through use of standardized tests. These tests only measure narrow band of logical sequence, useful for taking further exams. Just as in gym class, every student must jump and the bar has to be lowered to accommodate all students. This does not provide excellence but instead drive the system to towards lower and lower levels of excellence and acceptability. On the route to measure academic excellence through standardized test, a large share of mediocrity is guaranteed.

Research indicates that Americans consider public education to be unfavorable due to lax and low level skills to the students. The same people when asked about public schools where their children school in, they describe them as doing quite well. When test scores move up, the public is encouraged to believe and trust in a very shallow and unreliable measure of what comprise of quality education. Standardized testing creates frustration and dissatisfaction in teaching. Educators love learning and desire to impact life of youngsters. By reverting and elevating mere routine performance the rationale why good teachers want to teach is eliminated. If the tread of losing teachers continuously is not stopped it will be followed by students themselves.

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