Many schools require standardized testing for acceptance into special programs or even the institution itself. Some believe these tests are a fair way to put all students on the same ground for comparison whereas others believe they are not fully representative of intelligence and cause teachers to adhere their lessons to test materials.
All those with a stake in the out-comes of education—learners, teachers, parents, other tax-payers, employers, and the wider community—want to know what students have learned, and it seems plausible that this can easily be evaluated through the use of straightforward and familiar instruments, such as achievement tests.
Test scores have told the gatekeepers of America’s meritocracy-educators, academic institutions, and employers-that one student is bright, the other is not bright, that one is worthy academically, the other less so.
The idea that standardized testing is telling of how worthy a student is for a certain academic institution is not very fair. There are some students who are intuitively take test very well. On the other hand, there are some students who have test anxiety. A students with test anxiety may be more driven, motivated and active in the community than a student who does well taking tests; however, the student who gets the highest grade on a standardized test will often be looked at more closely than the student with test anxiety. Standardized testing is not really a fair way to determine the overall intelligence and worthiness of a student to institutions and companies, it should be a much smaller factor than most consider it to be presently.
The nationwide poll of 5,600 K-12 teachers, conducted by the New York City-based Teachers Network, found that 42 percent of respondents reported that standardized tests are not a helpful tool for improving their teaching, and that just 1 percent think standardized testing is an effective way to assess the quality of schools.
While educators talk about the importance of higher order thinking, only 11 percent of the items were classified as conceptual. Fully 89 percent were classified as procedural. For example, a procedural question might ask a student to perform a computation using long division. A conceptual question might ask students to create a long division problem with a solution between 99 and 199.
Standardized testing for students is not teaching critical thinking in the way that should be desired for students. These tests, such as EOG, EOC, SAT, ACT, GRE, etc. are equivalent to a strategy game. Students do not learn how to look at a problem they have not seen before and piece together prior knowledge to find the answer. Students learn to budget their time, they learn to first complete questions they definitely know. They learn to go back and eliminate possible answers and and make a "best guess" for questions they do not immediately know how to solve. Although standardized testing has changed slightly over the years, e.g. the addition of writing to the SAT in 2005, however, the tests are still focused on immediate knowledge and strategy.
Increased test pressure for a student who is not motivated by test outcome can serve to cast the tests, and subsequently the entire educational enterprise, in a negative light, thus making academic achievement a low priority and ultimately leading to what Jason Osborne calls academic disidentification. This means that students, to preserve their self–esteem, stop identifying with academic success and disengage from the academic process altogether.
Although initially introduced as a means of providing all applicants an equal shot at being accepted, some universities believe the SAT's democratic goals have gone awry. Students have to pay a fee to take it, and those who can afford to usually enroll in expensive prep courses or hire a private tutor.
The initial plan behind standardized testing was a good idea. Giving all students the same test as a means of comparing students in the same way is effective. There are some students who due to financial situations work multiple jobs as well as attending school. Students like these may simply not have enough time to complete all assignments and projects, which reflects in their grades. However, this lack of time can be perceived by college and graduate school admissions as unintelligent. Therefore, having a standard test that everyone takes allows students to prove intelligence when their grades don't necessarily reflect it. However, this initial intention has certainly been skewed in society today. Students now hire tutors to learn the strategies to get the best score on their tests. Students who do poorly on exams can often pay to take it multiple times, which benefits only students who are financially able to afford these expensive exams.
the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate
Many teachers who are required to give standardized tests at the end of a year or semester have their classroom environments vastly changed. These tests often push instructors towards teaching specific materials in certain ways, hence "teaching to the test." Because teachers spend so much time preparing students for an exam, they no longer have time to instill the passion of learning and deviate lesson plans to adhere to what interests students the most.
The high-stakes testing era began a decade under No Child Left Behind, and critics say that the exams are being inappropriately used and don’t measure a big part of what students learn.
In the century since standardized intelligence and achievement tests were first introduced, they have gained and lost favor many times both among education experts and among the general public. Some experts insist that some form of testing is necessary to evaluate both inborn intelligence and achievement in school; others claim that such tests must always contain prejudice of some sort, and that, at best, they discover who is most skilled at taking the tests.
Tests are best known for their use in college admission and high school graduation. Such tests measure levels of learning, the information and tools students have acquired, and their skills in manipulating ideas and symbols. The test also measures how fluent and comfortable students are in dealing with these elements, that is, how quickly they comprehend and make essential connections in reading or analyzing material.