Advantages and Disadvantages Today's educational system relies heavily on standardized testing. The approval of the No Child Left Behind act has crated higher standards and regulations for today's teachers. With that, there is more government involvement. With Standardized tests, educational reform has many advantages and disadvantages.



  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Other Topics
  • References



Advantages

Standardized tests are very practical. These tests are less time consuming, they are are easy to administer and there is less time that is needed to administer the test rather than the other complicated assessments that require more personal time with students. There are explicit directions, so administering these tests are far easier. machines do the grading for these tests and computers track the progress of achievement for different groups of students in different subjects. Tests are are scored objectively, there is no need for teachers to have their bias or emotions to influence the score of the students. It is easy to identify problems and instigate change or reform. These problems can be easily identified on student, class, school and district level. Also, with the ease of identifying problems, there is an accountability factor for students, teachers and everyone involved in the educational system. Finally, students, regardless of socioeconomic status, race or disability, should be expected to meet common standards that challenge them to acquire content and skills that are more than just minimum require.

Disadvantages

Standardized testing affects the curriculum being taught in schools, it affects how teachers teach their students, and usually affects how much meaningful learning takes place in a classroom.
Teachers begin to start "teaching to the test" making the classroom a more narrower educational experience and thus limiting the subject matter discussed in class. Since most of these tests are multiple choice limits teaching and learning to knowledge, at the expense of skills and abilities, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem solving. One very large qualm about standardized tests it that they do not take in diversity enough. Gender, socioeconomic classes, culture, language difference might be a barrier for a student to succeed on a test. Commonly, high-stakes tests have one major problem. They are biased against all students. Test creators purposefully pick items for a test that will create score spread instead of items that measure something students are actually or should be taught. The best evidence for test bias is the results. The median score for African-American students on the SAT is usually 200 points lower than that for European-American students. There is also a long-standing "35-point gender gap in scores on the math section of the SAT" (Young). Many other gaps exist between many different groups. Standardized tests oversimplify knowledge and do not test higher-order thinking skills. State standards are externally imposed on local teachers. These mandatory assessments cannot work unless teachers understand and accept the philosophical underpinnings of standards. One-size-fits-all standards either dumb down instruction to the lowest common denominator or condemn low-ability students to frequent failure.


Other Topics
Home
Assessments
Reliability of Standardized Testing
Scoring




References
Beckett, Gulbahar , Lionel Brown, and Lishing Wang. "Pros and cons of NCLB: What the research says." Educational Research Newsletter N.p., Nov. 2006. Web. 26 Sep. 2009 <http://www.ernweb.com/public/892.cfm>.

Messerli, Joe. "Should K-12 Students Be Required to Complete State-Sanctioned Minimum Skills Tests? ." Balanced Politics N.p., Oct. 2003. Web. 26 Sep. 2009 <http://www.balancedpolitics.org/school_testing.htm#no>.

Young, Katie. Standardized Testing Michigan State University, May 2005. Web. 17 Sep. 2009 <https://www.msu.edu/~youngka7/testing.html>

No Child Left Behind

Rommy Sekhon