Standardized Testing Pros And Cons

– Is Testing Letting Our Students Down?

By: - Education - May 8, 2011
standardized testing pros and cons


Since the inception of No Child Left Behind, and even before that, students, parents and teachers have debated standardized testing pros and cons. It’s a subject that people feel quite strongly about. Is it truly the best way to assess the abilities of each student, or does the stress create inaccurate scores? This testing method has both positives and negatives, since it can provide useful data, but may not always be as accurate a measuring tool as it is claimed to be.

There are people on both sides of the debate, and the people against the testing are quick to point out the problems with standardized testing, including the stress it places on students, which may not allow them to perform to their full potential.

Standardized testing does give teachers some guidance that will help them to decide what students need in classes, and when they need more specific instruction. It’s hoped that this results in less wasted teaching time. Standardized testing pros and cons also reveal that this method gives parents an idea of how each child is doing in school, and how your school is doing, as compared to those in other states.

Standardized testing does allow a student’s progress to be easily tracked through the years. But there are problems with standardized testing, like teachers feeling pressured to teach only what will be covered in these tests, to the detriment of the information they might otherwise be teaching. This makes the classes more boring for students, and makes the teachers’ enjoyment of their job much lower.

Standardized testing pros and cons include the fact that standardized tests do give all the students the same questions as others in the same grade, so they are helpful in comparing students. They are also useful in comparing one school district or state to another.

One of the problems with standardized testing is that teachers feel compelled to cut back on the students’ recess time, which is essential for a balanced school time, especially for younger students. Lack of recess time can negatively impact the childrens’ emotional, academic and social well-being.

The creators of standardized tests do attempt to make the tests unbiased, although they can’t get rid of all bias. Some students may have been exposed to knowledge at home that others of the same grade level have not. This is not a reflection of the schools. There is simply no way to tell what things every child should have learned by a certain grade, if it’s not covered in their school curriculum. It makes it difficult to decide if all the children taking the test have the same degree of knowledge, heading into the standardized testing.