Should standardized tests be banned?

Should standardized tests be banned?

Standardized testing has characterized the US education system significantly the implementation of the No Child Left behind Act 2001. The act requires the states of the US to administer annual tests to examine students aptitude, track teachers performance and ensure schools in the US are performing to a standard level. The standard tests are taken, scored and interpreted consistently to enable the comparisons of performances for large numbers of students. The standard tests are applied with high stakes such as determining those students who graduate, teachers to promote or fire and which schools should be allocated more funds among others. Standardized tests have been criticized widely for there inadequacies in promoting quality education such as making the teaching process about tests, sacrificing the means of gaining education for the results and pressurizing the education system an ineffective way .Therefore, standardized tests should be banned because they are not reliable; they require preparation and are not effective.

Standard tests are unreliable in determining the overall performance of teachers, students and schools since they are surrounding by numerous unreliable factors such as biased teaching, reduced collaboration, cheating and low-level instruction. Even teachers take part in the cheating of the exams since they know the results will affect their salaries and job security. The factors make standardized tests unreliable in determining student’s knowledge or teacher’s performance as “standardized tests measure performance more than knowledge”. The unreliability of standardized tests is also promoted by the fact that “standardized tests provide parents and teachers with a false sense of security”.  Teachers and students base their analysis and assumptions of their students and children academic potential based on the score of the standardized tests without looking at the different factors surrounding standardized tests. Students are likely to over study for tests as it approaches and most of the content is not retained as they study to pass the papers and not to gain the content. Unfortunately, the education system often over-relies on standardized tests regardless of its unreliability in meeting the educational needs of the society.

The over-reliance on standardized systems promoted by the education system put a high stake on them thus requiring intense preparation which also provides a reason to ban standardized tests. Standardized tests put a lot of pressure on schools, teachers and students to perform due to the high stakes thus requiring students to prepare intensively and under pressure. The preparation aspect of standardized testing is becoming the emphasis of the class time taking up the time meant to be spent on learning. Students are constantly revising for the exam, and the school systems are also designed to prepare the student for the standardized exam taking away the more effective learning time for the students. Students also have to engage in various activities to prepare for standardized tests. Students need to hire special tutors to help them perfo9m in the tests. Also, the modeling and development of standardizing exams take time for the testing companies that develop them investing resources and time in ensuring the tests meets the needs of a widely different student’s base.

The unreliability of the standard tests and the preparation process among other limitations of the standard tests make the standard tests ineffective in meeting the objectives of the intentions of the education system. For instance, one of the major objectives of the education system is to be inclusive in terms of diversity an objective that the standardized tests fail to meet. Standardized tests hinder the academic development of students based on their learning capacities, and there are non-inclusive of the wide range of differences in the students. Students who benefit from the standardized test are those with above-average academic ability discriminating those with lower ability. Also, “Standardized tests are not developed by geniuses. They were developed by mediocre minds” from testing companies; thus they do not reflect quality. Standards test exists for administrative, financial and political rather than educational purposes which makes them all the more ineffective in the education systems. The pressure the tests places on students cause psychological harm which makes the educational systems harmful instead of helpful for the students. Only students with high academic ability do well-leaving others stressed and discouraged. The inefficiency of the standardized tests also extends to its failure to promote students and teachers creativity in the learning process which is integral to learning.

In conclusion, standardized tests hold several adverse factors that provide for them to be banned from the educational system. Alternatively, improvements can be made on the standardized to make them more reliable, improve the preparation to improve performance and increase the effectiveness of the standardized tests. Students can hire special tutors to coach them on the tests to improve performance and engage in programs that prepare them for the tests adequately. Students are not affected in the same way by the tests; thus students should be prepared according to their ability, and the tests should consider abilities and the diversity of students should be considered in developing the tests.  All in all, banning standardized tests will help in developing a more efficient education system and institute the development of more reliable and effective assessment methods.

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