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Standardized Testing

Essay by review  •  December 22, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,334 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,429 Views

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Standardized tests have historically been used as measures of how

students compare with each other or how much of a particular curriculum they

have learned. Increasingly, standardized tests are being used to make major

decisions about students, such as grade promotion or high school graduation,

and schools. More and more often, they also are intended to shape the curriculum

and instruction. Students across America have had to repeat classes because of

the way standardized tests are used to pass or fail students. Students have had

to rely on just one test to pass them for the whole semester (FairTest). Although

the tests require students to retain information until the end of the semester, I

believe it is wrong to allow just a single test to decide whether an entire

semester's work will be rewarded will the credit that may have been well earned.

Even general standardized tests such as the SAT, which almost every high

school student has taken, are not fair to students who may come from a poor

educational background (Standardized Minds). Students are at a disadvantage if

they have test taking anxiety, a condition that many students suffer from. If a

student is having a bad day or going through a rough time on a test day, this

may also determine their entire semester's work. Standardized tests are often

based on one topic, giving the student little room to express their strong points.

Tests are called "high-stakes" when they used to make major decisions

about a student, such as high school graduation or grade promotion. Tests are

called "standardized" when all students answer the same questions under similar

conditions and their responses are scored in the same way. Research has shown

that high-stakes testing causes damage to individual students and education. It

is not a reasonable method for improving schools. Test-taking anxiety is common

among high school and college students. The anxiety can be quite stressful and

sometimes weakening, both personally and academically. It is a condition that

thousands of students suffer from and it is something that they cannot help or

overcome by the time of a test. Students who suffer from this often get very

panicked by exams, and most of the time they draw a blank during a test, even

though they know the material well (High-stakes). This anxiety is very difficult for

students to overcome especially when the test results will determine whether or

not they will pass the course, or even graduate. I believe that the school board

should take this into consideration and recognize that intelligent students who do

well in school also suffer from this anxiety. Tests are designed to evaluate what

was learned over a period of time, not to punish the student for what may

confuse them on a test. When standardized tests contain other information that

may not have been covered in class students often panic and do poorly on the


Aside from having the anxiety and stress from testing, students also go

through times of loss, tragedy, crisis or any other life changing events that cause

distraction in their school work. Every student has their bad days no matter what.

How students cope with it is the issue. Many high school and college students

have difficulty coping and dealing with their problems and it often reflects on not

only their school work but more importantly their exams. The standardized

testing system is not fair under these circumstances. I as well as many other

students across America experience several days during which it is extremely

difficult for me to concentrate and apply myself to the fullest while having other

worries and concerns on my mind. With this in mind, it is wrong for these exams

to be a determinant on the passing or failing of a course. The school board has

not given students any other options or alternatives to accommodate them

during hard times. Many times when students are going through a tragedy or

crisis and are required to take a standardized test, they are overwhelmed with

the stress of test taking anxiety at the same time (FairTest).

"Don't punish students for the state's failure" was the message from a

standing-room-only crowd jamming a hearing room in the Legislative Office

Building, as members of the San Francisco Board of Education and dozens of

other supporters joined one hundred high school students organized by

Californians for Justice to protest the High School Exit Exam (NYtimes).

State standards are often too long and detailed to ever be taught in the

classroom. Many fail to distinguish what is important from what is unimportant or

to separate what all students ought to learn



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