Has too much emphasis been placed on standardized tests?
What is standardized testing?A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in aconsistent manner or “standard”. (SAT, ACT, FCAT, APEXAMS, ETC)The tests came out of request from the public and parents fortwo reasons: to have an understanding of what it is we expect children to learn at various ages of schooling. to be conﬁdent in that indeed the children are learningThe government believes it is a valuable diagnostic tool that ishelping to improve student achievement.
THE fcatIn ﬂorida we have the FCAT or Florida ComprehensiveAssessment Test First administered in 1998Given annually usually between late february - Aprilonly for public school students grades 3-11students results from the fcat are compiled to generatea grade for the school. schools receive a grade, from a-f the higher the score the more funding the school receives
Why is standardized testing controversial?Controversy of: cultural bias misuse of standardized tests the bias of authors of standardized test inequality in preparation
Positives of standardized testingPredicting future success: Standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT have been shown to be effective in predicting a students future performance in higher education, in the military, and in the work force The standardized SAT or ACT create a common national measure that college admissions counselors rate as "a more reliable measure than high school grade point average, extracurricular activities, recommendations, essays, etc." Eliminating the SATs would result in unintended, negative consequences. A University of California study found that if the University did not require SAT scores from prospective students, they would have to raise their standard high school GPA to unrealistic expectations just to balance out the admissions process.
Positives of standardized testing continued...Making better students & teachers: Standardized testing provides students with better feedback about their own level of knowledge and skills. It also helps students to associate personal effort with rewards and motivates them to work harder in school. The testing and its feedback send clearer signals to students about what they need to study. Standardized testing motivates teachers to work harder and more effectively. They can better identify areas of strength and weakness in their teaching plans and then can restructure them. They can also identify what content was not mastered by students and see which students have the greatest needs.
Positives of standardized testing continued...Providing accountability: Accountability at the school level will encourage positive changes such as the revision of district curriculum and testing programs so that they become consistent with state curricula. It also leads districts and schools to use their resources more effectively Results from standardized tests can help reallocate funds to schools who performed well and deserve a reward, but also to those schools most in need.
ConclusionTesting is less expensive than many otherreform options.The system of standardized testing may not beperfect, but its an effective approach thatwill ultimately lead to the improvement ofschool districts, teachers, and studentlearning.