Standardized Testing: A Scandalous School System

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A Scandalous School System Neglectful, biased, diverting, or, in this case, all of the above. Standardized testing, including not only the SAT but oftentimes a slew of other state-required tests, overwhelms millions of students and educators in the US annually. The mild benefits and insights these tests offer are no comparison to the stress they cause. The unintended side effects these tests produce have been present since they were first put into place, but have dramatically strengthened in the last decade. This instant push-back should serve as a red flag to districts enforcing the tests. Standardized testing is unreliable and undermines student and educator effort because it ineffectively measures student achievement, produces a numerical…show more content…
Studies show that this numerical score, otherwise known as VAM (value-added modeling), is both unstable and unfair. The overwhelming tendency for the same teacher’s scores to fluctuate between multiple years concerns the critics of standardized tests and is a major flaw in the system. As stated by Diane Henningfeld, author of Standardized Testing- At Issue, “the true quality of a teacher is likely to change very little over time” (54). The current system, however, frequently penalizes educators when natural fluctuation occurs. Constantly replacing seemingly ineffective teachers is harmful because it does not leave the opportunity for teachers to get comfortable in their position. Teacher efficiency needs to be measured on a much greater scale than the numerical score produced by tests in order to ensure the best education for…show more content…
Educators, for example, may decide to change students’ curriculum based on what they anticipate will show up on standardized tests. In fact, as stated by James Popham, a professor at the California Institute of Education, “when school district officials or individual teachers are trying to decide whether to alter the instructional program for the next year, they’ll typically base their evaluation-informed decisions on group-aggregated data” (48). Although this may be beneficial in moderation, many schools end up basing their curriculum souley off these tests, thus overlooking an array of skills that are essential to student learning. This process has the opportunity to make a certain district or individual school look outstanding, even if its students lack a multitude of abilities. On the contrary, teachers whose student scores organically seem inadequate may decide to tamper with the results to mask the undesirable scores. Motivation for such activities is largely due to the consequences schools and individual districts experience when the criterion is not met. According to No Child Left Behind, an act that requires annual testing to ensure that schools stay efficient and students all have the same chance for success, “if a school failed to meet federal benchmarks of progress, it could be sanctioned, reorganized, or closed” (Edwards 3). While the act sounds productive,
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