An Argument on Standardized Testing

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Standardized tests are now a common practice among America’s schools. This has caused one of the most controversial debates in society today. Supposedly, they are a great way to measure student achievement, but it appears that the exams could be much more detrimental than they seem. Students are failing to pass year-long classes due to a single test. There is no way that the information learned within such an amount of time can be accurately or even fairly assessed this way. Within every student is an unfathomable amount of details that make him or her think and act the way they do. Their intellectual level cannot, and should not, be based entirely on one high-stakes test at the term’s end. In agreement with this is professor of education and public policy, George Madaus. According to him, these tests “leave out one of the most informational things we have about these kids, and that’s teacher judgements.” This statement is a perfect example of the faults high-stakes testing has. Measures of achievement hold more substance than a simple arithmetic test can provide. Personality traits, moral development, the infinite complexities we have, these can only be judged by human interaction. One of the great quandaries associated with the standardized testing method is the weight attributed to such inaccurate scores. A myriad of factors could effect the outcome. The technology used to administer the test has been known to malfunction as well as the scoring system. Mentioned in a PBS interview discussing high-stakes testing, is a recent issue taking place in Massachusetts. Multiple tenth grade students have found errors in their statewide test. Some were textual, such as the naming of James Madison as John Madison, or a simple mistake on the math portion. However, some errors were not grammatical but as one critic stated “ambiguous, where A is the answer they want, but B isn’t that bad...that really masks the true ability level of the kid.” One of the more...
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