We’ve all been there, trembling knees, sweaty palms, headaches. It’s the day of the big test; the one you were told will determine your future. The one you were told to start studying weeks in advance for. The one you were told you couldn’t afford to fail. And here we are, imprisoned by four white walls. You look down and see the piece of paper that has the power to control your life, or so you’ve been told. Pencil in hand you pray you’re prepared enough for what is to come. You hope the information you’ve stressfully studied for weeks, hasn’t been replaced by nerves.
Studies have shown that contrary to popular beliefs; standardized tests are not accurate or fair ways to evaluate a person’s intelligence. There are many cons that should be considered about this type of testing. Some of which are:
- Standardized testing assesses a student’s performance on one specific day without taking into account external factors. You might have gotten into a fight with your parents the morning of your test, this might cause your focus not to be were it should.
- Standardized tests pressure teachers to only teach what the students will be questioned on. So they disregard more important skills that go beyond the test.
- The stress these types of tests put not only on students, but on teachers as well is unhealthy. Students are reminded of the significant impact the results of these tests will have on their future every day leading up to it. Additionally excellent teachers quit because the pressure of helping their students pass is too overwhelming.
- All questions are under the same format, multiple choice. This forces the questions to be superficial and doesn’t measure a student’s ability to think deeply or creatively.
- The high stakes that are attached to these tests results can encourage students to cheat, rendering their academic and educational quality.
So what is the alternative? A few countries such as Finland rely merely on good teacher observations, documentation of the students work, and performance based assessments all of which require the direct evaluation of learning task. Life is more open ended than multiple choice answers. Memorizing hundreds of words or equations that you will forget right after the test will not help you in life, its simple logic. I believe standardized tests should be banned from schools worldwide and replaced with more thorough and specific method to determine ones intelligence.
Pollard, J. (2002). Standardized Testing: Measuring What Matters Least. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.standardizedtesting.net