The Standardized Testing Debate
Standardized testing: good or evil? Whether you love them or hate them, standardized testing continues to dominate the American education system. We here at FactSumo take a quick look at the standardized testing pros and cons by highlighting three areas of debate.
A pretty unfortunate facet of our world is that life is not fair. This is most prominently seen in American education. Wealthier school districts are more likely to produce exceptional students. The odds are stacked against lower-budget districts, and that is reflected in standardized testing scores. Though most students say the questions asked on exams are fair, it’s important to ask if the way we’re teaching and administering tests is equal. On one hand, the content that tests students is non-discriminatory and equal across the board. On the other, the way we learn this material is not, so some have an implicit advantage over others taking the same test. This can also be seen with students who have learning disabilities or are bad test-takers. If we only teach to pass tests, what example does that set, and what is the result?
We don’t have a perfect algorithm for producing tests. Therefore, standardized testing is the result of an educated guess. We can test for certain things, but we will never have a “perfect” test that accurately gauges ability. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for a near-perfect metric. Those creating tests are most likely educated in a relevant field, so they’re the best experts on what students should be tested on. On the other side of the debate, they themselves are a product of academic testing, and should acknowledge their bias in what knowledge is at the forefront of student learning. This brings us to our next topic, creativity.
With school budget cuts becoming more frequent, the arts are suffering. And even though the US government advocates for studies in STEM fields, students still perform poorly in these areas. This goes back to our teaching methods, but standardized testing brings these problems to the forefront. Regardless, the arts take a back seat to learning in the classroom. Is this stifling creativity? Or should we be encouraging more study time in math and science, in order to improve our global ranking? Whatever the case, standardized testing is geared toward empiricism, and not towards fostering creativity in students.
It looks like, despite the intense debate, standardized testing isn’t going away anytime soon. What’s that mean for current students? It’s vital they get the study time they need on a reliable, modern platform. We here at FactSumo take pride in personalized learning that caters to students. Check us out here!