Should Standardized Tests be Abolished from the School Educational System in America?
The standardized test issues have always been one of the most important issues in the educational system of a country. Standardized test is a test for which norms on a reference group, ordinarily drawn from many schools or communities, are provided (Van Kollenburg, Susan E., 2002). In simpler terms, standardized tests are designed to give a common measure of students’ performance. A very large amount of students graduate every year from schools all over the world. Thus, standardized tests give educators a common model for assessing these students. Standardized tests are also known as high stakes tests. Although the names, formats and manners in which these tests are administered to students differ according to country, the benefits and costs that these tests bring are similar. In the United States of America particularly, it is compulsory for all students graduating from high school to sit for the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). The SATs started when in 1933, James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard decided to start a new scholarship program for academically gifted boys. Henry Chauncey and Carl Brigham were given the task in finding a test to evaluate candidates for these scholarships. They came back with recommendation that he used the SAT because he thought it measured pure intelligence, regardless of the quality of the taker’s high school education. Chauncey administered the SAT to more than 300,000 people all over the country in a single day. In 1948, the Educational Testing Service was chartered and the SAT was on its way to becoming the basic college admissions device for millions (Frontline, 2008). To this day the SATs are owed by the College Board, and administered by the Educational Testing Service (Conner, 2001). SAT results are used as one of the primary factors in the selection process of students for college admissions. Influential figures of the society have debated over the benefits and costs of standardized tests for many years. Most of the citizens of the world today at a certain point in time will have to sit for a standardized test. This entitles every one of these people who has sat for a standardized test to have an opinion on the benefits and costs of the test. Although standardized tests are being used in many countries in the world, I think that they do not serve a significant purpose anymore. There are too many things not measured by standardized tests such as critical thinking skills and creativity. Therefore, to use these tests in the manner that they are being used is simply an abuse of the tests and a punishment to the youth and the schools. If their main benefits are to provide data to the administration and to provide structure to the educators but the data is faulty and the structure is domineering, the worth of standardized testing comes into question (Jones, 1996). Are standardized tests really beneficial or helpful to any segment of the population? My opponents argue that standardized tests are used for the assessment of an individual student’s abilities to provide better teaching and accountability. Standardized tests are the control mechanism that outside agencies have over educators and students to make sure both are doing their jobs (Jones, 1996). Outside agencies such as the government, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and schools use standardized test result information to make important decisions. For example, the SATs give the admissions and faculty at our nation’s universities and colleges a very good indicator of who is ready to take advantage of a college education (Copper, 2001). A proper college education these days is not cheap and hard to come by, thus a reliable testing method for students who really deserve it is needed. These tests results help indicate if a school has been improving or not and to determine whether government intervention is needed. In...
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