The Effects of Standardized Testing on Students

Standardized Testing on Students

The Effects of Standardized Testing on Students

Standardized testing has been around for centuries. Internet reports say that the first standardized tests were given in the 7th century BC in China. The argument for standardized tests is straightforward; a common assessment instrument allows many students or job applicants to be objectively compared. 

But are standardized tests actually good for all students?

Are they actually objective measures that allow for a fair comparison?

A quick Google search will give you numerous lists of pros and cons for standardized testing. My views might be biased. My business is preparing people for standardized exams, so you would think that I would be an advocate.  

However, my experiences in my MTEL business and in special education have turned my bias in the opposite direction. I do not think that standardized testing is good for all students. It doesn’t allow for a fair comparison or objectively measures student potential because:

  • High-stakes testing places undue stress on students. Exams like the MCAS or the MTELs are “make or break” assessments. Students who can’t pass MCAS are unable to earn a high school diploma. Those who can’t pass the MTEL have potentially wasted thousands of dollars and many years of their life if they want to change careers or are unable to secure a teaching position. 
  • Standardized tests do not account for students who learn or demonstrate academic proficiency in different ways. In special education, students are catered to by modifying content, instruction, and grading standards to meet their needs. The narrow approach that standardized testing has would not fairly assess those students in special education who have different learning needs. 
  • Students’ educational experience suffers as curriculum planning narrows. High-stakes standardized testing impacts district curricula. It requires teachers to “teach to the test.”  Teachers, administrators, and districts are judged based on students’ MCAS performance. However, they’re usually not judged based on how well students are succeeding outside of test results. Units that don’t prepare students for the exams are excluded, limiting creativity, imagination, and well-rounded learning. 
  • Standardized tests are biased: Standardized tests are thought to be fair and objective, but a rigid approach to testing fails to account for variables such as language deficiencies, learning disabilities, difficult home lives, or varying knowledge of US cultural conventions. Students who are ESL, have a disability, or live in poverty are at a disadvantage. Considering that many of these students have more than one area of challenge, the issues often compound.  

The education world is beginning to recognize that standardized testing isn’t the most crucial or accurate way to assess every student. The SAT has been deemphasized by colleges over the last few years. Mass DESE has recently allowed alternatives to the Communication and Literacy MTELs. However, standardized testing is still here to stay for now. 

It is important to teach students test-taking and critical thinking skills to help them understand how to successfully strategize when taking a standardized test. Most are told to use “the process of elimination” but are never actually taught how to properly use it or when. However, the process of elimination is still not a good primary strategy for successful standardized testing performance.

 Ready to find the right solution for your standardized testing needs? Let us help you with your test-taking struggles. We’ve guaranteed your success since 1999.

At EIT we teach these skills to our MTEL-preparation students. Reach out to EIT today to get more information on how we can help you with standardized testing. 

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