Blog Post

Standardized Tests

There is a cartoon that has a bird, a monkey, a penguin, an elephant, a goldfish, a seal and a dog. The speech bubble says "For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam: please climb that tree" Wait! That’s not fair, how is a fish supposed to climb a tree, or an elephant? Well the monkey can climb that tree so it’s considered a fair exam. This is what we compare standardized tests to. According to Glossary of Education Reform, "A standardized test is any form of test that (1) requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in the same way, and that (2) is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students." Basically a standardized test is so they can gather information on students and how much they have learned and measure what they should have learned, etc. You can read more about the different types of standardized test on the website If you live in Michigan, you have taken the MEAP. When you are a junior in high school, you take the ACT or the SAT depending if you are going to college in or out of state. These tests determine if you will make it to the college of your dreams, one test. Most colleges have a required minimum ACT or SAT score to be accepted into the college. Why is that fair? You have one student, who does all their work, but is a horrible test taker. They get anxious, and sike themselves out to the point where taking a test is a nightmare. Then you have another student who is barley passing, and never does their work, but on the ACT got a 29 because they guessed. Why it is fair to say how smart a student is, based on one test? When students prepare for a standardized test, they are taught test taking skills, such as reading slowing and making sure they understand the question. Some schools even have the students take practice ACT to see what the test will be like. You can only prepare so much for a standard test; the goal of those tests is to see what you have learned over past years or semesters etc. Ask a junior in high school, at the beginning of the year, what it is that they are most worried about for school that upcoming year. Most will say the ACT; this is because it is made out to be this huge, long, hard test that will determine your future. Well it kind of is, isn’t it? Depending on the score of that one test, that’s what colleges will look at along with your transcripts. They don’t review all the tests you did great on, or all the homework you completed. They look at that test score. Why is that fair? In the article “An alternative to standardized testing for student assessment” found on they have suggested some alternatives to standardized tests. They mention about Consortium schools and how they focus on project-based learning. It states in the article "All consortium programs require students to successfully complete four performance-based assessment tasks (PBATs). These include an analytic essay, a social studies research paper, a science experiment, and an applied mathematics problem. They incorporate both written and oral components." Why can we not do something like that? We need a change; we need to be open to new ideas, and new ways of testing students on how much they have learned, without standardized testing.



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