When going to school students are supposed to learn based off a curriculum, but instead they are learning based off a test. These test are meant to help students, but instead they are hurting them. Standardized test requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in the same way. Also they are scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students. Each state has a different name for their standardized test, for Virginia they call theirs the Standards Of Learning, SOL’s.
These test are neither fair nor objective, puts pressure on the students, and it cuts off time in the school year. The government made an act called the No Child Left Behind to help the disadvantage students. On the website of Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction it states that this Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills, students are tested in reading and math in grades third through fifth and once in high school. For the schools to receive federal school funding the states must give these assessments to all students at select grade levels.
The major focus of No Child Left Behind is to close student achievement gaps by providing all children with a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. The United States Department of Education focuses on four pillars within the bill, accountability, flexibility, research based education, and parent options. Accountability is to ensure those students who are disadvantage to achieve academic proficiency. Flexibility is used to allow school distracts flexibility in how they use federal funds to improve student achievements.
Research based education emphasizes educational programs and practices that have been proven effective through scientific research. Lastly, parent options increases the choices available to the parents of students attending Title 1 schools. In a picture the teacher tell the student “Come away from the window! You don’t want to be a child left behind do you? ” the student replies with “Sounds good to me! ” With this cartoon it shows how the school system is pushing testing and only testing and how they are leaving out art, science experiments, and gym class behind.
Also in the cartoon the classroom is in black and white and outside the window where the child is looking is colorful and filled with joy and happiness. In the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing by Columbia University they believe that some people believe these test are good for students because it measures the student’s ability to learn the material by giving the student a test to test their knowledge on the material they learned through the year. These test give teachers guidance to help them determine what to teach students and when to teach it.
By doing this it is less time wasted on instructional time and a simplified way of timeline management. Also it makes sure teachers are doing their job by if more student’s pass the standardized test then the teacher is doing their job and vice versa. If students are failing the test the state steps in and tries to fix the problem in the school. Since the test are administered on the computer it is easy to give out and to score. Standardized tests are objective in nature. Standardized tests are scored by computers or at the very least scored by people who do not directly know the student.
They do this to remove bias from the teacher given the student a better grade. Lastly, if the school wants to compare the student’s results with other students inside the school or outside the school they can. Also with the scores being online it is easy to see the student’s growth through their years in public education. Standardized testing helps give parents a good idea of how their children are doing as compared to students across the country and locally. With all these positive things about the standardized testing how could they backfire?
On the other hand people believe these test hurt the students. On Study. com they said these standardized test promote a narrow curriculum by letting the teachers only teach what is on the test and nothing more. Teachers can not venture off what is on the test because there is not enough time to do so. These test undermines America’s ability to produce critical thinkers. Since these test are multiple choice all students have to do is pick the correct answer. Standardized test do not assess higher level thinking skills because they are multiple choice, so students do not need to analyze the question.
The school year starts in September and then it end in June, but the test are given out in May. Teachers must be done with teaching in April and also review all the material before the test in May. When the test is over students think they do not need to go back to school which means students are missing a whole month in school. In a cartoon a student asks “Mrs. Jenkins, why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore” and the teacher replies with “That’s a good question Jammie but it won’t be on the standardized test so I’m afraid we don’t have time to discuss it.
Next? In this cartoon it shows how teachers are not able to teach or explain why certain things are because there is not enough time to discuss them and if it is not on the test teachers believe there is no reason in teaching them. Schools dependent on the performance of their students because if the students perform well they receive federal funds. The schools are more pressured to make their students perform well so they can show the federal government they are doing their job. This pressure often leads to unhealthy competition among the schools in the state.
These tests have found to reduce group activities among students because the students spend a lot of time in preparing for standardized tests and therefore, skip activities like joining a sport, club, or organization. Some school systems are under great pressure to raise their scores so they have resorted to decreasing or taking away time spent in recess. This may cause a negative impact on elementary school students social, emotional, and academic well being. (The Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing) Some students simply do not perform well on tests.
These test only show the students’ performance the day of the test and not the overall growth of the student over the year. The standardized test does a disservice to both the teacher who worked hard to help their students grow and the student who worked extremely hard over the course of the year and improved tremendously, but failed to pass the test. Many people would argue that teacher and student performance should be evaluated on growth over the year instead of one single test. Many of these students are smart and understand the content, but it does not show on the test.
Also many students develop test anxiety which causes stress on the students which leads to negativity directed at school and learning in general. In a picture the teacher says “For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam: Please climb that tree”. The students he is talking to are a money penguin, elephant, fish, seal, and a dog. Based on these animals only the money will be able to pass the test. This is how the government see all the students, they believe all students are the same when they are actually not.
The federal government was trying to help students with the No Child Left Behind Act, but instead all it did was back fire on them. These test put pressure on the students and it made students have negativity directed to learning and school in general. These test make teachers take away the fun and joy of learning by making teachers just teach to the test. Test are given out in May which cuts off about two months of learning which makes it harder for teachers to teach and explain all the material they have to go through to make the student prepared for the test.
Since the test are multiple choice it makes it seem that America can not produce critical thinkers because all the students have to do is choose A, B, C, or D. The test were supposed to be generalized but instead they over generalized the students. The school systems should take away the standardized test and leave in place the test for each quarter. The test at the end of each quarter can show how a student grows through the year and if they really learned the material. Once the school systems go back to this type of testing teachers can start teaching again and bring back the fun in learning.