Critical Analysis of the Extent to Which Standardized Testing Negatively Portray Students

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The concept of education has changed throughout the years. When kids are adolescents, everyone believes it is all ingenuity and out of this world projects; however, the burgeon of standardized testing engulfing our school systems. The issue that standardized testing is creating is that it gives general statistics that diminish students' intelligence, increases students' anxiety as well as teachers, and questions teachers' credibility. This issue has impacted many professionals in the education field. In addition, Alfie Kohn an author and a lecturer in the education field has stated: “as much as 90% of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction.” Many educators don't believe standardized testing should be the way to judge their knowledge because many students' intelligence does not correlate with a score. Therefore, this raises the question to what extent do standardized testing negatively portray students?

Let's start with the first perspective, the first perspective is that standardized testing is good. Many critics emphasize that standardized testing helps grade adolescents on growth. As GradePower learning presents “it provides guidelines for the curriculum”. What this essentially means is it limits the curriculum to what students need to know, to succeed. Therefore, these tests are useful for teachers to know what to teach. Moreover, standardized testing also identifies where students struggle to help them thrive as they perpetuate as they go to higher grade levels. As GradePower learning continues to state “Standardized tests can help identify problem areas in individual students, as well as schools and curriculums”. To be able to identify where students’ struggle is a major bonus to standardized testing (Arnold). For instance, if a certain class all does deplorable on a math section, the teacher knows what to fixate on; therefore, incrementing the value of education and performing better in the classroom. Moreover, many schools do not understand that it takes time for these to benefit. In Kentucky, it took 5 years for teachers and students to see benefits, but now they can have very high standards that students will reach (Porter).

However, with this source, there are weaknesses and strengths. The weakness is they give no examples where standardized testing has increased educational value. To clarify, the critics give zero examples of certain schools who enjoy using standardized because they have seen improvement in students. The give a generalizable statement that applies to every test. On the contrary, the strength of this source is that it is very credible. GradePower learning focuses all on tutoring kids to be successful. GradePower learning teaches kids how to expand their thinking; therefore, when they present information about standardized testing the credibility increases due to the fact they major in helping kids. Consequently, this source does have a plethora of credibility which shows the benefits of standardized testing.

Continuing with the first perspective, to measure the growth of students, exams are the most common way to do it. Speaking in general terms, exams are pretty much the basis of everyone’s grades in school. To have a good grade in a class, it is necessary to do well on exams. Therefore, considering this, exams are the most appropriate and the easiest way to see where students are and what they need to work on. This is why many believe “ Exams are instruments for measuring student proficiency... measuring something is often the best way to maximize or improve it” (Norman). Taking a test allows knowledge to be put to the test, and if students do lamentable on it, it is an indicator to the teacher that students haven’t mastered that unit. Which is why data should not just be dismissed as a number (Los Angeles Times).

Considering, standardized tests are solely meant for this purpose many see it as a positive because it is the best indicator for a student and a teacher to see where the adolescent is falling behind to provide a solution. Continuing, many students want to thrive in and out of school no matter location. Therefore, standardized testing gives students motives and goals to reach to thrive in the school atmosphere. This is why many critics and educators see the benefits with standardized testing because ultimately it helps students become better in the classroom and be able to be more successful as they continue throughout. Due to this, parents and teachers should not be apprehending these tests, instead, they should be utilizing them as a resource and visually perceiving where their kids need help instead of incriminating a test (Norman).

This source shares weaknesses and strengths. Norman R. Augustine is chairman of National Academics which shows that he does have cognizance on this subject, considering it is a huge part of academics in today’s society; however, how he presented his information was very generalized giving no real examples showing where these tests help students. Norman just states facts that are not backed up with evidence. Now the strength to Norman is he is a very credible inditer he is a part of National Academics, which correlates to the fact that he has worked with students from all over to see the benefits of these and considering from his perspective, the benefits outweigh the harm.

Continuing, the most popular standardized test is known as the SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test. This test is important in America for college acceptance. Many students and teachers hate this test saying how many students shouldn’t be quantified by a test; however, these tests show what you have learned throughout high school and see if you can apply it to application. Therefore, showing what students may improve on. Consequently, students should not dismiss this test just because it is hard. These tests show what many college type questions may look like; therefore, making you more prepared. As “Respect for Standardized Testing” shows “Standardized tests remain an important part of holding schools accountable and shouldn't be minimized or dismissed as just a bunch of data. The concrete results from the tests force us to see truths we could otherwise avoid…” With standardized tests showing the student where could focus on is a big help to increase learning and to perform better on these tests. Therefore, these tests matter because they show what students need to focus on to thrive more on the SAT.

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Now, let’s take a look at the second perspective, which focuses on the harm towards standardized testing. Starting with how standardized test rank students. Students get ranked depending on how they perform. Students aren’t objects they are people who may have test anxiety and do not perform as well, it doesn’t mean they are as not as smart as a student who did well. Ranking children should never happen in school, every student is different and every student thrives in their own way. As Bruce Dixon shows sports and education are two separate things “Learning is not a competitive sport, so how about we stop treating it that way. Why do we persist with ranking everything, naming and shaming schools by publishing test results like they're sporting scores in league tables?” schools don’t need the hate, students don’t need the hate; so why does everyone use standardized testing to increase the pressure with school and pressure? Standardized is not meant to compare students to see who did preponderantly. Besides just ranking students, standardized testing cuts down creativity in school. Therefore, the emphasis on standardized testing has cut down creativity which kills curiosity and motivation to learn. As Bruce Dixon emphasis “The overemphasis on testing has led many teachers to eliminate projects and activities that provide students with an opportunity to be creative and imaginative, and scripted curriculum has become the norm in many classrooms.” Standardized testing has changed our school system, especially for younger students. Students used to be able to be way more ingenious in school and learn how to use their brains to think and their imagination to create, but now students use their brains to think about questions to make schools look good and their imagination is completely diminished.

There are strengths and weaknesses to this source by Bruce Dixon. The strength is these quotes are true looking at today’s society colleges require a test and standardized testing start in third grade and some countries even earlier. The idea of standardized testing has taken over schools is to a large extent very true creative minds don’t run wild anymore because of the test they are more focused, which makes kids grow up too fast. On the contrary, the weakness of these statements is that they don’t provide a counter-argument. Maybe it is good for kids to see tests earlier or start learning at a young age.

Continuing with this argument, parents bash their kids to do well on these tests which creates an immense amount of pressure. In New Delhi students have to pass the exam to be able to go to college. As Jim Yardley explains 'We have to keep them under pressure,' says Jaya Samaddar, whose daughter is studying for the national exams given in 10th grade. 'We have no other choice.' For parents to have to put pressure on kids that would make them perform worse because they are nervous and feel they have to perform well for someone else rather than themselves.

Along with parents bashing their children, when China crushed the United States on their SAT called PISA, and here is why as Sam Dillion states “Chinese students spend less time than U.S. students on athletics, music and other activities that are not geared toward success on exams in core subjects”. Kids need to be kids, they need to have fun and live because they only live once and sports are a big part of life it isn’t all about stressing children out to different extents.

Both these sources are very strong credible starting with the first source in New Delhi they utilize the parents saying they put pressure and for source two they use research to show why China crushed their standardized test.

With this question, one can pose two perspectives. These perspectives include that it doesn’t hurt/negatively affect the student and that it increases learning through the idea of benchmarks and educational advancements. However, it also impacts students through anxiety and pressure.

After evaluating the argument, it is clear that standardized testing has many flaws. This stance leads back to the question, do standardized tests negatively portray students? Standardized testing can negatively portray students because many students are not good test takers; however, that does not mean these tests aren’t useful. When researching this topic, there were many valid points to both sides of the argument, which increased the reliability of this argument. When researching, my viewpoint kept changing. On one hand, these tests rank people, which is very unethical, since everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and tests may be a weakness; however, on the other hand, these tests lead to more educational advancements. Therefore, I was torn between which side is morally right. Looking at this issue, there is no perfect answer to if standardized tests are beneficial or not; however, there is a solution: make standardized tests weigh less. Instead of seeing if kids perform well on one test, evaluate how they did throughout the year, see how students did on other assignments and then base their learning on that, rather than just basing it on one test. Even as students get older, standardized testing a big part of school. The Scholastic Aptitude Test should not be the determining factor of acceptance or not. Therefore, while standardized testing has some flaws that negatively portray students if they don’t score that high; however, in addition, it also helps increase educational advancements for students and also indicates weakness. Furthermore, standardized testing shouldn’t make or break students if they do poorly, many kids aren’t good test-takers, and that shouldn’t deteriorate their intelligence.

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Critical Analysis of the Extent to Which Standardized Testing Negatively Portray Students. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
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