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Problems With Standardized Testing In The United States

Standardized testing is good in theory but in reality it is causing many problems. The United States Government wants to keep the national school systems together but as a result it is making schools much more stressful for everyone and the point of being a teacher completely different than what it used to be. Children’s intelligence should not be determined by a test, nor should it determine a teacher’s skill. This problem has gotten much bigger over time and needs to be brought to more people’s attention, as well as other methods to move forward without so much testing.

There has always been people who disagree with standardized testing but once the No Child Left Behind act was put in place things went south. The No child Left Behind (2002) is an updated version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act holding schools accountable for student outcomes(Klein). The reason for the Act was to close the achievement gap between privileged and unprivileged children, and advance America’s competitiveness; they would do this by t? esting the students, in reading and math in grades 3–8, and once in high school.

The predicted outcome was that by 2014 all students would achieve standards(Atlas). Though it all s o u n d s g o o d t h e r e w e r e s o m e f l a w s H a l e y E d w a r d s p o i n t s o u t ” T? h e i d e a s e e m e d s o u n d : t h e Murray 1 ? government could use test scores to determine how students were doing according to subgroups like race and income level, then hold schools accountable for their performance. And, crucially, the law had teeth: if a school failed to meet federal benchmarks of progress, it could be sanctioned, reorganized or closed”(Edwards).

Because of this, schools and teachers panicked as a reaction and then the students had to take government mandated classes constantly to stay on track and it was just too much. As some time passed the law lost a lot of supporters and almost immediately schools were falling short and thousands of schools were technically failing(Edwards). Eventually stated started to petition the law because of the flaws and the Federal Government waived the law temporarily on a specific condition that they meet the Government’s demands in other ways. There are currently 42 states with temporary conditional waivers.

One of the arguments is that the state’s test lie and don’t really tell the truth about the students intelligence Catherine Gewertz argues that” most states produce much higher proficiency rates on their own tests than they do on the federally sponsored National Assessment of Educational Progress”(Gewertz). In another article I read talks about how ”Eisner claims that standardized testing will take up an inordinate amount of teaching and planning time (2000), leave no room for teachers and students to demonstrate ingenuity and complexity (1993), and limit students’ ability to make decisions (1995)….

Eisner (1995) also notes that because standards often fail to make distinctions among students, they threaten cultural diversity and independent t? hinking? abilities. ”(Williams) Murray 2 ? It has been said that the Government will be adding some adjustments to the Act sometime this year. There are many different tactics that can be taken whether it is other options to keep track of the students or grading the test in different ways. The first tactic would be, Sampling. This is done by giving the same test to fewer students.

Each year you would take some students and test them on so not every student takes a test every year; “That’s how the “Nation’s Report Card” works. Formally known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, it’s one of the longest­running and most trusted tests in the U. S. education arsenal, even though it’s not attached to high stakes”(Kamenetz). The test are given to grades 4th 8th and 12th, and are given highly respected tests. Another method is tracking progress through portfolios, this method is more to get rid of the state writing test.

These portfolios are online based and save all your writings that you have ever done. Students look back at their past work and critically go through and see what they have learned. (Archer) This method has been tested in rhode island and is currently a huge success, some of the students feedback is that is cased them to think more critically, improve on their work and to meet expectations. The teachers and only that student can see the work the system is password protected, and at the end of the school year the student sits with their teachers as well as parents and go over progress.

With method not only can the students show what they know but can also express themselves as individuals(Archer). Throughout the state of New York there are 28 schools that participate in creating performance portfolios(Kamenetz). These portfolios consist of projects (individual and group) reports, papers, and assessments collected over time. As a result of these portfolios “these public schools show a higher graduation rate, and better college retention rates”(Kamentz). Murray 3 ? Next there are stealth assessments.

These are programs that are not only assessments but also software for students to practice math and english. that would be on a computer system that registers every answer from the student(Kamenetz); “The companies that develop this software argue that it presents the opportunity to eliminate the time, cost and anxiety of “stop and test” in favor of passively collecting data on students’ knowledge over a semester, year or entire school career”(Kamenetz). When using this method you can monitor how quickly a student can learn, how well they are processing it and other big picture factors.

One system has been created called dynamic learning maps. This system creates multiple pathways for students to learn and test what they know. This system find the specific way the child learns and tests them that way “students with severe disabilities “are interested in the same concepts and activities as their grade­level peers are; they just access them differently”(Heitin). This system sticks with common core but also breaks it down so the pieces all interact together. The point of this tactic is that it gets so much more from the student as opposed to the traditional tests

On another note teachers can start grading test differently, this method is proficiency scoring, and works best with science. How this works is on the assessments the questions are either basic, proficient, or advanced(Marzano). These tests would be more fill in the blank, this shows what the student really knows and can not just guess and bubble in an answer. If the student is able recognize accurate statements about the question they would get 1­3 points; they know the basics. If a student take the question and put it into a real life scenario is is considered a proficient answer getting between 4­6 points.

For an advanced answer, the student will be able to explain the effect of whatever the question is about and how it affects other things scoring 7­10 points. This is a great system because it shows what the student knows and when there are points Murray 4 ? missed the opportunity can be taken for the student to find the better answer raising their points. Tom O’brien Former NATO senior makes a great point in his article K? IDS OR COWS? w? hen he says It seems to be that the very purpose of education is to provide nutrition for children’s minds and emotions.

Assessments should provide information for teachers to make decisions that nourish kids. bubble sheets with pencil marks show the aftermath of a child’s processing. They do not provide nutrition. Most commonly, they lead us only to cull the herd(Harris, Smith, Harris 109. ) What O’brien is saying is, students need to learn from mistakes, when they get something wrong the answer should be explained so they understand. Once the student understands their knowledge grows and their brains are “nourished” as opposed to just circling a bubble and just being told they are wrong.

Then there is the multiple measures method. What this method does is, that it takes all data and progress in school performance and accountability. (Kamenetz) when doing this you don’t just depend on the outcome of one test but multiple. over time this would show the performance of the student over all. students won’t feel as pressured about taking standardized tests and won’t stress as much about school. Another great outcome would be that it would be a lot easier to monitor teachers and how well they are doing rather then just based on the students standardized test scores.

To conclude there are plenty of other methods to use to keep track of students education rather than standardized testing. The testing causes so much stress on the students and teachers it is just unnecessary. A teacher is New York City, when interviewed and ask why she still teaches Murray 5 ? ?throughout all the problems teachers face was quick and simple”for the kids”(Nieto). When the government takes action to fix the No Child Left Behind Act lets hope they do it for the kids as well.

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