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Standardized Testing Article
I found this great article written by Emily Smith on Online Universities and she is also writes on the subject of taking classes online.
Standardized Testing: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality
A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard," manner. Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. A standardized test may be formatted as a multiple choice or essay exam, or a combination of the two. Standardized testing is a major component of the American education system, with test scores being used as a benchmark to determine a student's capability to progress from one grade to the next. At the secondary school level, standardized tests such as the ACT--American College Testing--and SAT--Scholastic Aptitude Test--are used to determine high school achievement and college admissions.
This article will address the good, the bad, and the reality of standardized testing including the inherent problems, benefits, and suggestions for improvment.
Critiques of Standarized Testing
Most critiques of standardized testing condemn the exams for their inability to be objective, reliable, or an adequate indicator of the student's intelligence. For example, some scholars argue that the wording on standardized tests does not reflect real differences amongst real people who may learn or respond to various words in distinct and subjective ways. Furthermore, standardized tests are based upon psychological learning theories from the nineteenth century, and many argue that the understanding of the learning process has greatly evolved since this theory was published. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing published this extensive article on exactly what is wrong with standardized testing.
Benefits of Standardized Testing
As with most standardized procedures, the benefit of standardized testing lies in the test's capability to quickly and presumably efficiently score, measure, and conceptualize a variable--in this case a student's academic standing. In a country where there are approximately 76.6 million students enrolled in educational institutions at varying levels, there is a great need for a system or test that will allow a standardized assessment of these individuals. Standardized tests fulfill a task that would otherwise require a heaping mass of time and trained personnel.
Other advantages of standardized testing lie in the fact that they allow students to be ranked across various demographic backgrounds and they create a means of measuring progress on an annual basis.
Suggestions for Improvement
Suggestions for improving standardized tests vary in methodology and extremity. Some suggest getting rid of the tests altogether and creating an alternative way to measure the academic progress and intelligence of a large number of students. Others propose revising the curriculum so that teachers incorporate content and a teaching style that will lead to their students scoring better on the tests. Still others seek to change the labels and stereotypes associated with high test scores and low test scores.
In a Huffington Post editorial (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-rose/standardized-testing-alte_b_162919.html), Robert Rose shares his experiences as an educator of gifted children and his suggestions for improving standardized tests. Rose proposes that test makers put all of the exam questions and contexts from which they are derived on the internet for everyone to see. Rose argues that in this manner everyone would have fairly equal opportunity to learn what the nation believes are critical facts or concepts that all students should know. Students, parents, and teachers could then determine the amount of extra or school time spent on test preparation.