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What are the benefits of standardized examinations in education?

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Standardized tests, such as the SATs and GREs, as well as the Terra Novas and New York Regents, are the bane of many school-age students’ existence. The first standardized tests were given in the 1800s, and they are still used today to pick or reject students from elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as establish their scholarship eligibility. In 2002, all 50 states embraced standardized testing as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, making normative tests more widespread for kids in grades K-12. Are these tests, however, advantageous to the educational system or a contradiction?

The negative impact of Standardized tests on School education

  1. The decline of creativity

Teachers around the United States are focusing on just teaching subjects that help children perform well on standardized tests, a practice known as “teaching to the test.” According to studies, students who concentrate on studying are more successful than those who concentrate on exam results. The National Council of Teachers of English has sidelined a number of courses, including art, social studies, foreign languages, and music, because they are rarely examined. As a result, examinations like the SAT, which focuses solely on math and reading, tend to constrict the classroom curriculum and ignore students’ skills in other areas. These assessments should examine pupils’ general intelligence rather than just their test-taking aptitude.

  1. These tests aren’t worth the money you’ll spend on them.

Taxpayer dollars could be put to better use if taxpayer-funded standardized tests were not so expensive. Several states are estimated to lose over $1.7 billion a year due to standardized tests. Our educational system is marked by a great deal of inequality. A study from Rutgers University shows that schools need to update classroom materials, to fund teachers, to hire school psychologists, and to provide more after-school programming, which would positively impact student performance. These funds are currently being allocated for student assessments and removing crucial resources that students would greatly benefit from. Further, tests like the SAT may be skewed towards students with money; if they can pay for expensive schools or prep courses, and if they have more time to study since they do not have to work, they are more likely to do well on such tests.

  1. Teachers are the ones who have to deal with the brunt of the criticism.

The success of a teacher is measured by student achievement on standardized tests. Regardless, these results are based on the overall performance of all of the students’ teachers, not just one teacher’s performance. Despite the fact that standardized test scores are used by most states to evaluate teachers, research have demonstrated that they do not correctly predict their performance. In the run-up to the epidemic, state leaders in places like New York considered giving teacher evaluations a 50 percent weighting. Teachers who are reprimanded and rewarded based on exam scores will not contribute to higher education.

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Impact of Standardized tests on School education

  1. Ensure that all pupils have the same opportunity.

Taking standardized tests ensures that all students receive an equal education in the United States. Using proficiency in standardized tests as a way to hold schools accountable for students’ academic success is the purpose of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which began in 2016. A portion of the scholarship would go towards closing the income gap between low-income and minority students. Moreover, state funding laws motivate schools to ensure that students do well on these exams, incentivizing them to ensure that every student learns the same material as their peers in other schools. Patty Murray, a former senator from Washington, once said that the victims of education laws will invariably be children from underprivileged neighborhoods, children of color, and students with disabilities if students’ progress cannot be measured and states are not held accountable.

  1. Serves as a method of objective evaluation.

Obtaining an objective measure to assess applicants is crucial to university admissions, especially when considering scholarship applications and determining academic placement. Standardized tests are advantageous in this situation, as personal interviews and demographic data automatically bias evaluations and introduce human error into them. It is essential for colleges and universities to have some kind of independent way of screening applicants. Through these tests, bias is removed from the equation, which enables students to be placed in the appropriate learning environment. Even though the SATs aren’t completely reliable, they do an adequate job in that respect. There are many multiple-choice questions on the SATs (and other standardized tests), and most of them are scored by machines, making them an objective, statistically reliable method of comparing student achievement. In addition, the SATs provide students with a focused perspective on their skills and abilities, rather than looking over their entire academic career.

  1. Aids students in improving their academic performance

Testing did not happen by accident; there is evidence that it teaches kids important abilities. Dr. Richard Phelps’ results in “Defending Standardized Testing” are based on an analysis of more than a century of research on standardized tests, which determined that standardized exams have a positive impact on student achievement in 93 percent of studies. Furthermore, cognitive studies have revealed that when pupils take examinations, they retain material more efficiently.

In the end, it comes down to this:

While standardized tests make the playing field level for students of all backgrounds, their use can lead to unfair assessment of teacher performance and student creativity.

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