Standardized testing has long been a rather contradictory and debatable topic for discussion. Much has been said on the issue of standardized testing together with its positive and negative sides. There are reasons due to which standardized testing is still being used in schools and other educational establishments. The practice of such testing is likely to be discussed for many years to come. Some of the pros and cons of standardized testing are listed below.
Among the beneficial sides of standardized testing is the fact that instructors and schools become responsible for what children are taught during classes in order to get prepared for standardized testing. This happens because the scores received on such testing are recorded in documents that become public, so that teachers have to work much to ensure the scores are sufficient. Such strict measures are associated with a threat of teachers losing their job, and in some cases the school itself can get closed or privatized by the state.
Furthermore, standardized testing allows comparing the results of students learning in different schools and even regions. Without such a testing, the comparison of results obtained after it would be impossible. Comparison of testing results has been the main reason for such testing to be implemented in schools as this allows making a thorough investigation on the performance of students learning in different states. This helps to create a statistics and find out where students learn better and with more efficiency. What is more, the benefit of standardized testing is the fact that it has to follow certain norms and standards, which should help teachers to control the process of teaching as they will have to select the required material for this or that course. In other words, standardized testing gives a clue to the teachers as for how their classes should be structured. Such guidance helps students to succeed even if they are transferred from one school to another.
Furthermore, standardized tests are always objective in terms of student’s assessment. The scores obtained by students during classes might be subjective, but the standardized tests are carried out with the use of computers, which helps to form a more objective opinion without any biases in regard to the performance of students. Standardized testing also helps to conduct thorough comparison among the sub-groups. This includes ethnicity, disabilities and socioeconomic status helping the schools to develop educational programs that are specially designed for various sub-groups.
On the other hand, there are some cons of standardized testing. First, it assesses the performance of students on a designated day not taking into consideration some external circumstances. There are students who cannot perform well on such kind of testing due to their physical state or some other circumstances. Some students feel anxious during tests, and this prevents them from performing well. Still other students might quarrel with their parents before the testing, so that the chances for them performing well are significantly lowered.
Second, standardized testing creates a situation when teachers start teaching their students only the material required for the test. Such practice prevents a student from showing their real learning potential. Some teachers are negligent in their teaching experience, and do not consider it necessary to teach students something else except for the information required for successful performance at the standardized testing. Thus, the overall picture of students’ performance is blurred. Finally, standardized testing is aimed at assessing individual performance of every child without taking into account the progress of a student during the year. The testing is focused on immediate performance, so that even if a student performed well during classes, it would not count. This makes the issue of standardized testing controversial, and the related problems require some effective measures to be taken.