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Standardized Testing: Is it Truly Beneficial to Children?

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Standardized Testing: Is it Truly Beneficial to Children?

In 2000, the United States’ ranked 18th in the world for math scores. In 2009, seven years after the No Child Left Behind Act, the United States ranked 31st. This statistic alone should be reason enough to discard standardized testing in the education system. Since standardized testing has been required, not only has the US ranking in education gone down, but also the value of education has gone down. By allowing these tests, students are only being taught how to pass a test. Teachers on the other hand are only teaching students to pass the exams and in turn are not producing critical thinkers and innovators. Children in the school system are not reaching their full potential. There are many more skills needed to succeed in life than simply getting an ‘A’ or a passing grade. Standardized testing may be a way to equally measure a child’s progress in theory, but in reality the method is not accurate. The United States should discontinue standardized testing because it is not an efficient measure of intelligence. First, standardized testing forces teachers to “teach by the tests,” meaning teachers are instructing by a specific guideline in a limited amount of time. Because of this, teachers are incapable of providing necessary fundamentals to the students. Standardized testing has restricted the curriculum to be taught to children. The effects of this are negative for several
Hamblin 2 reasons. The curriculum does not allow time for experiential learning, or learning by doing. Many students do not learn by sitting in a desk and listening to a man or woman ramble on about the subject. Children learn by interaction and hands-on activities, not by hearing a lecture alone. Another reason to get rid of standardized testing is children are only being taught test taking skills. A successful career and a successful life require way many more skills than just those skills. Children taught in a system where standardized testing is mandatory are not being shown how to analyze, how to be creative, or how to make important connections in everyday life. The education system before 2002 allowed teachers to help their students develop necessary skills by doing hands on activities and not restricting the material students needed to be taught, which is not only bad for the student. Limiting what information teachers are allowed to present to their students can make teachers resent their job, which can have a negative impact on the classroom setting. Furthermore, some students are not reaching their full potential. Standardized testing may be beneficial to students who have a harder time learning because they lower the standards of what students are learning. To students who strive to learn more, these tests are obstructing the students’ ability to prosper and exceed whatever their desire may be. The goal of education, as set by the United States founding fathers, was to push students to be successful economically and socially. To be successful you must be educated and at least slightly intelligent, especially in today’s society. On the other hand, standardized testing is a convenient and equal way to measure a child’s progress—in theory. When put to use, this method does not work. Some students develop
Hamblin 3 test anxiety. Others are not efficient test takers. If the United States wants equal testing, they should develop tests according to the type of learner (kinetic, audio, visual, etc.) the student is. This would allow for the child to express the information he or she has learned in a way that will fully exemplify their knowledge. This method would also engage the student, causing test scores to go up, also causing the ranking of the United States to go back up. In summation, the United States should get rid of standardized testing, or at least modify it to truly be an equal measure of the students’ intelligence. This testing method restricts what educators are able to teach, limiting the information given to children, therefore not actually educating them. Standardized testing puts restrictions on the curriculum being taught, which only teaches the student to pass a test. This method of testing kids may help the children who have harder time grasping information but is hindering children who are capable of advancing. Standardized testing could be modified to better examine the knowledge a child has gained in a given amount of time and would have a better outcome than the system now. The future of our nation rests in the hands of those we are educating now, therefore it is our job to inform them as best we can to make the future bright.

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