Standardized tests inaccurately measure knowledge

Mackenzie Coughlin, Staff Writer

It is no secret that the standardized tests that students take state-wide majorly show what that specific student had learned over the course of the school year. It proves to that student, the teacher and the state that he/she is on track with their learning. However, there are several factors that can play into why standardized tests should not be fully trusted.

One of the most common ways for a student to not perform to their fullest potential on this type of test comes down to stress. There are countless intellectually soaring students that, when it comes down to test day, crack under the pressure to which they are being held. Some students simply thrive more in the classroom setting with unit quizzes and chapter tests rather than having so much anticipation lead up to the one test that will determine their future.

Because students know that some of these tests could affect their future lives, some will do anything just to pass, skipping the whole purpose of the test. This could include cheating, simply memorizing the material without learning or taking a performance drug. If this happened to be the case, the student’s real academic practice and talent would be hidden behind a false test.

The grading scale for standardized tests is also a part of what makes them not to be one hundred percent believable. The tests are being scored on a state-wide scale that compares one’s tests scores to the overall average of the state. So, higher level students that receive high scores are really just the “high” average scores. This, in a way, hinders those with exceeding abilities.

Standardized tests are most beneficial for administrative purposes. Teachers are able to base what they need to teach more of in class off of test scores. Colleges offer acceptance to certain students based on test scores. However, when a student receives their scores in the mail months after taking the test and sees “meets expectations” or an arbitrary number, it doesn’t have the same positive effect. There is no way to see what problems one missed and how to actually go about solving them. Most of the time, the feedback given is portrayed in a confusing graph or chart that has no value but to the test company and administration.

Even with the negatives to standardized testing, they will continue to be given due to the several positives as well. There is no denying that it has its ups, but recognizing something’s faults can have a lasting impact on how it is viewed.