Do we really need the standardized tests?

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Tests? Exams? We don't like them and We bugging about them all the time. And indeed, we are using them in our everyday life. Then there comes the confusion question: do we really need it? Is it really working or is it time to change to another more efficient system?
Of course, for everything in this world, there are pros and cons. So is the standardized testing system. In order to understand better what pros and cons it brings to us, we should ask ourselves a easy question first : what is exactly is the standardized testing?

Looking into our Lilienfeld text book, I find this: A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard", manner. And then searching on the web, I find something more interesting about how exactly those so called "standard" are categorized. There are basically two ways of categorizing the standardized tests. First one is looking into high-stakes and low-stakes of the testing. In a high-stakes environment, test results are used to make important decisions about students, teachers, or schools. However, in a low-stakes environment, the effects of test results are less far-reaching, sometimes effects nothing beyond a student's grade in a particular subject, such as an AP test. Another way to categorize the standardized test is by the reference of the test can make.

Now by the definition of the standardized test, we know that the purpose of the test is to make reference of person's ability and mostly can reflect a certain angle of a person's personal life. But, is it really working? Of course it does. That's why those test are designed for, it has to work in some degree. However, how much of degree is exactly working on a particular person? We don't know and nobody does. We only know a rough number refer to a group, which is reference of the statistical study of the small random sample they took. For example, the SATI score is with a .48 correlation with the freshman GPA, and a .76 of the college make the right decision to select the student. It is not exactly science. It is just a prediction and which is also the way left for people to arguing about how unfair and defected the standardized testing is.
I looked up on the internet and find basically the arguments that people made about the standarized test are the following:
Cons:
• The test questions reveal bias toward a middle-class white background.
• Because test items differ with different administrations of the test, different test scores may not show differences between students.
• The tests do not reveal current understandings of how students learn.
• The multiple-choice format is inadequate for giving instructive information about the student as a whole.
• The conclusions one can draw from authentic assessment and observation of student work and the student as her or she learns is more valuable than standardized test scores.
• Concerns with high-stakes testing results is being given too much power to shape curriculum.
Pros:
• Standardized tests provide a different view than that of the classroom teacher, an important element when a particular child is not being well-served in a particular educational setting for some reason.
• Standardized tests allow for accountability by revealing how effective a particular program is in covering the content of the test.
• Standardized tests can reveal achievement gaps between and among students in different groups.
• Standardized tests are not meant to do everything.
• Tests that are open-ended in order to reveal more about students are also costlier to administer, and more difficult to score to a standard.
• Testing is one way to help ensure that students maintain material that they've been taught after the particular lesson or unit is complete.

Basically, from the con's view they are just looking for the ways that the correlations number are missed, and they are right about those points they made. And the pro part's view basically argue that the prediction of the correlation that the standardized system can refer to.
The debate of the standardized test has lasting for decades and never ends, just like the debate of the global warming, politics, and economy. There has never been a perfect system existed on earth. The one we use is the best and only one we got. So, instead making big argument reflected from the data flaws of the system, do something really matters that can improve it.

Source: http://www.educationbug.org/a/standardized-tests--overview.html
http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199102_worthen.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test
http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/16137.aspx

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This page contains a single entry by lixx1185 published on November 20, 2011 7:08 PM.

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