Standardized testing is inherently flawed – that much is clear. The question is, how do we go about improving our processes which are reliant on standardized testing to function efficiently? The bottom line is, standardized testing does a terrible job of measuring important qualities, such as any kind of deep or critical thinking, and more so, all test takes take the same exam under the same multiple choice conditions – a system which doesn’t account for a number of important differences and factors that can and should be weighed by our education system.
These tests are not remotely objective – the only objectivity that comes into play in these tests is the scoring. Deciding which material the test should cover, how to grade answers, and how to administer the exams is completely subjective. For example, if there is one student who knows 80 percent of the course material superbly well, and one student who knows 20 percent of the course material well that the first student doesn’t know, but only that 20 percent, and by chance the exam disproportionately weighs that 20 percent, the first student will be unfairly screwed by the system!
Test Scores Aren’t Reliable
Test scores are not entirely reliable given the issue of measurement errors and such, meaning that a score may vary depending on the day due to a number of different unpredictable factors within the exam as well as the student. Test scores don’t necessarily reflect tangible differences among people either; tests are intended to sort students based on performance, but measurement errors can come into play and disrupt certain factors and consistencies, artificially and unfairly hurting certain students.
Tests do not even reflect knowledge about how students learn – essentially, as people and our way of thinking and learning has evolved, standardized testing has remained exactly the same, which is obviously flawed and illogical. Cognitive and psychological developments aren’t considered in standardized testing, which is unfair for students.
Bias is something that cannot be removed from standardized exams by definition. Inevitably certain material and information will be more strongly represented in testing than others, which skews the results in that we aren’t getting an accurate idea of what the student knows of the whole of the material, only of that specific material that has been chosen. Additionally, research shows that teachers do not even find the scores and results for students from standardized testing to be helpful! If teachers can’t learn and benefit from standardized testing, what use is it continue to make students take standardized tests.
It’s time to introduce testing into the 21st century. Nearly everyone concedes that standardized testing is outdated and inefficient, but the protocols and procedures that are supposed to be standard themselves are keeping the same old not-helpful systems in place, hurting everyone in the process. My recommendation would be to begin phasing out standardized testing slowly, so as to learn which replacement for it works best over time and via trial and error. If we begin doing this now we will most certainly be able to build a better education system for our children. We here are all about self improvement so it’s important for us to promote ideas that create a better future.