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Standardized testing: is it effective?

Standardized testing is used in most schools across the country. All test takers are required to answer a set of questions that usually consist of multiple-choice, true or false, or short-answers. This type of testing is used to show how well a student learned the class material over the period of the course. Even though most schools require standardized testing, I don't think that it accurately measures the knowledge of a student.

There are some subjects, such as literature and poetry, that shouldn't be tested because everybody interprets the pieces differently. This narrow approach promotes only two ways of thinking: right and wrong. Binary thinking doesn't allow students to think creatively. It rather forces them to think how the test maker wants them to.

Standardized testing destroys teaching's true purpose. Teachers no longer teach so students learn the material, but so that students pass and make themselves look good. They become robots of the education system. Schools get ranked from highest to lowest based on student scores. This pressures teachers to "prove" to how good of an educator they are. Report cards of schools don't reflect the true quality of students and educators.

The test only measures the students' knowledge during a certain amount of time, and it doesn’t go over everything taught but just certain parts of the curriculum. Students have time to study and memorize the material before the test, therefore some just regurgitate the information on paper and then forget it afterward. Some students may know what they learned but aren't good test takers and freak out during the test.

Lastly, it causes students to care more about passing the test than learning the material. They only care about the grade and not whether they retained the information. It increases cheating on tests, especially since all the tests have the same questions and answer choices.

I think standardized testing should be taken out of schools and replaced with something better. Portfolios can be used to evaluate ability and are more reflective of the student. Standardized tests are negative on the students and teachers. Students get stressed out and focus more on passing, not learning. Teacher’s focus on students doing well to show that they are a good teacher, which bumps their school ranking. Schools should pay attention to the development of a student and not the grade they get on one test.

Marissa Engleman

North Bend

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