10 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing. Conncectusfund.org. Connect US Fund. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.
Background: There are numerous benefits as well as disadvantages when it comes to standardized testing. Whether it be that the questions are too generalized or that sometimes students are not in the effective state of mind on test day. These disadvantages aid my argument on how standardized testing stunts academic growth.
How I used it: I did not use this as an in-depth source mainly because it only pointed out a few basic facts about testing. Those basic ideas helped me find out what questions I should be looking for the answers to. The main use for this source was to further my research. It has lead me to many other sources to which I have used more predominantly.
Alcocer, Paulina. “History of Standardized Testing in the United States.” National Education Association. Accessed 1 Dec. 2017.
Background: The very beginnings of standardized testing starting around 1838. Educators around the US began to render new ideas to measure the knowledge of students. Written exams replaced oral exams when the primary purpose of education shifted from educating the elite class to educating the mass population. These tests were designed to measure the educational capabilities of students in the United States. Gradually, the intention changed, standardized testing became a way to evaluate teacher and school performance to punish schools whose test results were poor and to reward those schools with high performance scores.
How I used it: One of my arguments is how once, standardized testing was an effective way to evaluate students. Today, the primary focus of testing is to make money based decisions on the basis of test scores. A timeline of the history of standardized testing has allowed me to clearly see this important shift.
Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov99/vol57/num03/The-Courage-to-Be-Constructivist.aspx. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.
Background: The constructivist style of teaching proves to be the most effective method of educating. Ideas, such as challenging the supposition of students, teaching broad concepts and valuing student opinions, are all central to the primary goal of constructivist teachers. Learning is a convoluted process in which people absorb new information to either alter their perspective of the surrounding world or not. Constructivist teachers keep relevant facts and information in their educational toolbox as to keep the minds of students engaged in classroom activity. Creativity and free thinking are lost in a world of standard assessment, forcing students to be tested on material that does not positively impact their education. Standardized testing scores the end rather than the journey of learning. Each student has a different background of knowledge; therefore, everyone learns at different rates. There needs to be a shift from students learning the same curriculum to analyzing individual student needs in the classroom.
How I used it: To understand the issues revolving standardized testing, the true meaning of an effective educator must be clear. I used the evidence and real-life examples, provided by this source, to determine my stance on the problem. The first line of the educational defense is the teacher. The research surrounding high-stakes testing has its roots in first-hand accounts from educators whom interact with their students the most. This article aided in molding my thesis; I felt that I needed to research the basics of my argument to be able to completely understand the subject.
Brooks, Martin, and Jacqueline Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1993. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/199234/chapters/Honoring-the-Learning-Process.aspx.
Background: The author describes the ideas and experiences around the knowledge of student learning. The process of learning must not be viewed as a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. Each individual mind has witnessed events that have shaped how they view the world; therefore, no two minds are capable of effectively learning using the same method. Because they contain generalized questions, standard assessments stunt creativity, thus defiling the true purpose of education.
How I used it: Again, researching the basics of the argument is imperative to provide me with a solid foundation of knowledge for supporting my argument. These supporting facts assisted me in convincing readers the disadvantages of standardized assessments. Although, the author’s focus was on the meaning of effective learning, the ideas formed central arguments in my research.
Herman, Joan L., and Shari Golan. “Effects of Standardized Testing on Teachers and Learning–Another Look.” (1990).
Background: The cost, in dollars, of standardized testing has risen to the billions. Test results come with high risks, for teachers especially; the classroom then becomes a course on how to pass a test, ultimately distracting the learning of other important material. Less than one-fifth of teachers interviewed in this study, believe that the results of the tests accurately reflect the learning of their students. Even when studies have shown no significant impact on development, test advocates and policy-makers still believe testing has benefits.
How I used it: The arguments introduced, allowed me to formulate pros and cons of high-stakes testing. Herman evaluates the effects that standardized tests have on the learning community; she has found that testing provides no significant impact on educational development. Research has also proved that testing negatively affects teachers and how they conduct their classroom procedures. The article furthered my search for new sources by introducing more specific concepts. The evidence contributes to my final research paper, filling it with more facts to back up my thesis.
Klein, Alyson. “No Child Left Behind: An Overview.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2015. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.
Background: In an effort to hold schools accountable for their student’s performance, the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 mandated school districts to administer standardized assessments to all students and report the results to the state. Furthermore, harsh sanctions are put in place for those districts who do not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress. Prior to 2010, it became clear that many schools were not going to meet the required AYP. As of that year, 38 percent of schools in the US failed to meet requirement. The current educational system has bureaucratic tendencies more than focusing on educational growth.
How I used it: The issues of standardized testing focus on math, reading and writing, ultimately narrowing the curriculum. The more time a teacher spends on test prep, the less time they have for other creative inducing subjects. I emphasize this important claim as it strengthens my argument. Hindering critical thinking skills by straying away from social studies, foreign languages and various art subjects, devalues the important life skills one must learn to progress in this world.
Kohn, Alfie. The case against standardized testing: Raising the scores, ruining the schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000.
Background: Kohn poses arguments that are for standardized testing and then immediately refutes these claims with relevant facts and statistics. Standardized testing has many negative associations with knowledge development. They do not accurately reflect a child’s academic performance; in other words, students who do not pass these exams will be deemed failures. Of course, this will damage the confidence of the student, leaving them to live a life in which they believe they are failures; forever stunting the creative and educational growth. Kohn introduces a list created by educator Bill Ayers, “Standardized tests can’t measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable dispositions and attributes. What they can measure, and count are isolated skills, specific facts and functions, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning.” All the skills tests do not emphasize are very important life attributes that will increase the quality of life further down the road.
How I used it: Kohn assisted in my research process heavily. His thorough explanations of the downsides of high-stakes testing offered thought provoking ideas. What helped the most was his ability to refute the counterarguments which gave me a wide view on the subject. I incorporated his knowledge into my research paper to support my thesis. By demonstrating the negative effects, the chances of convincing my audience of my view greatly increases.
“New Jersey State Assessments.” State.nj.us. NJ Department of Education. http://www.state.nj.us/education/assessment/
Background: New Jersey’s Department of Education provides facts about standardized testing. The website includes how they score these tests, what they do with scores, when the tests are administered, and the scores needed to meet graduation requirements. There are numerous tools for students, parents, and teachers.
How I used it: I gained a basic knowledge of standardized testing through this source. Knowing what is at stake is important for emphasizing the fact that everyone involved in testing is under a enormous amount of pressure. My goal was for the audience to see the conditions in which the students are taking the test in. Testing is ineffectively used to determine educational growth.
Simmons, Nicola. “(De)grading the Standardized Test: Can Standardized Testing Evaluate Schools?” Education Canada. vol. 44, no. 3, 2004. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.
Background: Simmons take and in-depth look at the alleged value of standardized testing. Holding teachers accountable for their student’s achievement is necessary, but testing is not an effective way to measure. Teachers will teach their children how to take a test rather than focus on important subject matter. Telling students not to be creative or make sure you complete the test within the time limit hinder critical thinking and puts a panic on the test taker. Simmons informs readers that the tests pose biased questions that are more designed for privileged kids.
How I used it: These arguments have a strong chance of convincing my readers that standardized testing does not procure the positive results that policy-makers tend to make people believe. By proving these facts, we can comfortably assume that we need to do away with testing.