In the drive to improve test scores, manyschools have limited or eliminated somesubjects and programs, because they are notassessed on standardized tests.
Research shows that since the introduction ofthe No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, mostU.S. elementary schools have reduced thetime spent on teaching science, social studies,the fine and performing arts, and physicaleducation.
Social scientists universally agree that testscores are heavily influenced bysocioeconomic factors.
Further research shows that manystandardized tests items also havecultural, racial, and gender bias…
…while othereducation expertshave shown thatstandardized testshave assessmentbias towardsspecial needsstudents,and those who arecreative thinkers orlearn with differentmodalities.
Standardized Testing is Unreliable and May Produce Invalid Results
The following factors have been documentedby researchers as affecting the reliability ofAmerican standardized tests:students, instruction, cheating, testdevelopment, and test scoring.
Other researchers have found thatmany standardized test questionsare flawed in a wide variety ofways, including the use of confusingand imprecise language.
A test scoring centersupervisor, whoworked in the testingindustry for 15years, wrote thatmany of the“professional”scorers of studentwriting samples“pretty much had noidea what they weredoing.”
And, analysis of standardized test questionsand results shows that even when the teststhemselves are reliable and valid, there isfrequently no evidence that the scoresrepresent actual learning.
Standardized Test Results Are Used in Inappropriate Ways
Researchers agree thatstandardized testscores alone are poorindicatorsof student learning, yetmore schools are usingtest scores as a majorcomponent (up to 50%in some states) ofindividual teacherevaluations.
Furthermore, standardizedtest results do not measuremany important componentsof outstanding schools…
…including a safe environment, qualitynutrition, counseling support, essentialcurricular areas such as the arts & athletics,and social & emotional enrichment programs.
Research indicatesthat using test scoresto evaluate, promote,reward, or punishteachers is anineffective practice,even when using VAM,the mostsophisticated methodfor this type ofstatistical analysis. Yetthis practice is beingincreased in manyschools.
If the U.S. continues to use standardizedtesting, then the tests must be redesignedto include more open-ended responsequestions, and include questions thatmeasure more complex, higher-orderthinking skills.
A renewed effort must be made on the partof local school districts to provide the timeand resources for more frequent, in-depth,personal, and individualized teacherevaluations, performed by qualified educationadministrators.
Standardized testing attempts to boil downthe very complex and intricate process oflearning into a set of quantifiable statistics,and completely ignores many of the mostimportant aspects of what is consideredbest practice in education.
Testing data do have a place in thecomprehensive evaluation of an instructionalprogram. However, in far too many instances,standardized testing is being misused in waysthat are causing great harm to schools,teachers, and ultimately the students.