The Problem Within Our Education System
Standardized testing is a very sensitive topic within our education systems. There are many different views regarding standardized testing. There is certain evidence regarding other views that have been proven correct. Some say that standardized tests are very successful for they predict the future of graduating students. They often help parents get a feel on how much material their child is learning or absorbing in school. These views are valued within an education system and also have enriched my own views as well. However, that being said, I do believe with the evidence I have obtained throughout this research essay that standardized tests should not be required within classrooms. I believe that standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge of the students. Instead they cause problems and issues within the education system including narrowing the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school.
Often times many students do not perform as well as they could on standardized tests because they have test anxiety. Therefore; standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge learned within classrooms. Standardized test tends to narrow the curriculum because teachers are instructed to only teach the material within the test itself. This is also why standardized tests frustrate teachers. Driving students out of school is yet another reason why standardized tests should not be required within the educational system. Often times students perform poorly on a test and do not meet the schools standardized testing score standard and are eventually driven out of the school district all together. I believe that standardized tests undermine school improvement rather that advancing its cause. Author of “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health” Noe J. Medina states, “Therefore, using standardized test scores as the primary criteria for making important educational decisions will lead to less public understanding of the schools and a weaker educational system” (2).
Standardized testing is one particular topic that I can relate to personally because I used to have really bad test anxiety. This lead to studying two weeks in advance for tests and making hundreds of flashcards. I would go to bed early and wake up even earlier just for a small snack. I would do everything and anything I could to prepare for the test. Once it came time to take the test, as soon as I would read the first question, I would blank. It wasn’t that I did not know the material, along with many other students across the world, it was that I suffered from test anxiety. I would stress so much over the upcoming test and learning the material that when it came time to show my teacher and school district all the information I learned, I blanked and failed the test. That is why I am researching why standardized test are negative and should not be required within the classroom. I do not believe that standardized tests truly show students true knowledge because many students like me do not perform their best due to anxiety.
One particular concept within standardized testing is called “Test Pollution”. This term is not really recognized throughout school districts but is a very important term. According to Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution, “Test score pollution is a concept bases on the work of Messick (1984), refers to the factors affecting the truthfulness of a test score interpretation” (3). This author describes three main sources of test pollution: the way schools and its personnel prepare students for tests, the test administration activities or conditions, and the exogenous factors representing forces beyond the control of schools and school personnel.
One big question that I have about this topic is why standardized tests ultimately determine a student’s future? I do not believe that standardized tests accurately show a student’s true knowledge. With that being said, why are standardized tests the only factor that determines a student’s future career? Teachers and the education system believe that students who do not perform well on standardized tests will not succeed in life. I believe that this is false because these tests do not accurately show how much knowledge a student absorbs.
This is a very significant topic within the field of education because students everywhere are being told that they are not smart enough because of their low test scores. I have concluded that standardized tests truly do not determine the knowledge of students because children are suffering everywhere across the world from factors such as test anxiety, narrowed curriculum, and frustrated teachers. These factors are setting them up to fail. The sooner we acknowledge that there is a problem within the education systems, the sooner we can work together in strengthening the future for our students. Some connections I made between this topic is: how much a student prepares for the exam, if there are any positive aspects that come out of testing students, why educational systems hold children accountable to such a high testing standard, and all the effects of test anxiety. I’ve concluded that how much a student studies for an exam does correlate with how well that particular student scores; however, it doesn’t matter how much a student studies if they suffer from test anxiety.
What I know now about standardized testing is that they do indeed narrow the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school. We see this in my research that teachers only teach to the test in order to receive a good grade for their schooling district. By only teaching to the test, teachers are therefore narrowing the curriculum. This can frustrate teachers because they are so caught up in teaching standardized test questions that they do not think about how they can become a great teacher. Standardized test drive students out of school because if students do not meet the certain testing requirement for these exams, they are kicked out of that school district. I have learned that at this point and time in the education systems, there is no way around standardized tests. I’ve concluded that all schools are required to give standardized tests to their students; however, that being said there are ways we can solve these problems. Teachers can start by expanding their curriculum by teaching more than the test itself. This will also help teachers so they do not seem so frustrated. As for the students who are struggling with standardized test, I believe teachers and the school districts should do everything and anything they possibly can to help that student succeed.
Haladyna, Thomas M. et al. “Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution.” Educational Researcher, vol. 20, no. 5, 1991, pp. 2–7. www.jstor.org/stable/1176395.
Kuncel, Nathan R., and Sarah A. Hezlett. “Standardized Tests Predict Graduate Students’ Success.” Science, vol. 315, no. 5815, 2007, pp. 1080–1081. www.jstor.org/stable/20039045.
Neill, D. Monty, and Noe J. Medina. “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health.” The Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 70, no. 9, 1989, pp. 688–697. www.jstor.org/stable/20404001.
Shepard, Lorrie A., and Carribeth L. Bliem. “Parents’ Thinking about Standardized Tests and Performance Assessments.” Educational Researcher, vol. 24, no. 8, 1995, pp. 25–32. www.jstor.org/stable/1176891.