Views on Standardized Testing
correlation between principals' perceived effects of standardized tests on students' .. standardized tests, impacting on teaching and learning for students in. One of the chief reasons that students' standardized test scores continue to be the most Items that do the best job of discriminating among students are those interpretations of students' knowledge and/or skills in relationship to those of. high-stakes standardized tests on student learning. Research One study found that teachers lose between 60 to hours of instructional time in a year.
Even with the training assessors can give significantly different grades to an essay. Proponents of standardized testing point to large-scale use of the tests that go beyond the individual student or even the school.
Standardized testing allows comparison between provincial education systems or even national education systems.
Advocates say that standardized tests are impartial and rational. They state that standardized tests are an inexpensive way to check that schools and teachers are accountable, that students and therefore the public are getting the education that public dollars are paying for.
Standardized tests by this measure are intended to examine the whole education system and therefore individual scores may be not as significant.
Testing can be found in all cultures. Evaluating the understanding of someone learning a new skill is common for all societies. Standardized testing as we know it today began in earnest in China as a form of aptitude testing, trying to ascertain who would be best at a particular job.
They attempted to predict aptitude by discerning the best candidates for the Chinese civil service. The most recent impetus to standardized testing was the Industrial Revolution and the movement to increased schooling where students were moved out of the work force and into schools.
One of the easiest and arguably the cheapest way to test large numbers of those children was with a standardized exam. Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon developed what is now commonly known as an IQ Test, beginning in the late s and culminating with the Binet-Simon scale in These intelligence tests were created in response to the French government wanting to develop special education classes for students who were not benefiting from the newly instituted regular compulsory education program.
The tests tried to identify students who needed focused education in order to maximize their education.
These standardized tests were an attempt to streamline education so that society would gain maximum benefit from each citizen, a noble sentiment.
Louis Termanwho was teaching at the time at Stanford University, noted the success of these exams and their potential applicability in America. He spearheaded the creation of the Stanford-Binet Test which remains, in its fifth iteration, the most popular IQ testing vehicle in existence. This testing of servicemen helped build up a record of statistical evidence for IQ testing. Carl Brigham worked with Yerkes in the testing of servicemen.
Its intention was to screen college applicants to insure the worthy candidates were allowed admission. The test became immediately popular and by it became a standard method of college and university entrance, again a noble enterprise.
Inmore than 3. These standardized tests that attempt to predict success or aptitude seem to be successful. Fishman and Pasanella reviewed SAT predictive validity in the s, finding that the median correlation between student first-year success and the SAT score was a significant 0.
In Alberta, standardized testing began in the s. At the Grade 12 level, diploma exams were reinstated in after being removed for a few years. McEwen clarifies the reason for the achievement tests: Public education is funded by taxpayers who want and have a right to know if they are getting value for their investment. Such accountability requires public information.
The goals, or intended benefits, of implementing indicator systems are to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the educational enterprise, to improve education, and to provide a mechanism for accountability p.
Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing The primary conundrums in standardized testing of achievement lie in the validity and applicability of the test results. The testing conditions may cause students to perform poorly such as when students might miss questions not because they do not know the material but for something as simple as the testing centre had poor lighting that caused headaches in students, or because the testing room was too cold and did not allow certain students to focus.
Their anxiety becomes the determining factor of how well they do the test, not whether they know the material. Even students who are normally good test takers can have a skewed result; for example, a student who had an emotional moment just before the test might not be able to focus and receives a result that is not reflective of his or her capabilities.
Grade-Spread Requirement Perhaps the primary concern with achievement standardized testing is that testing should be based on curricular outcomes that are mandated by the provincial or state governing bodies. That is, there was a poor correlation between what was in the test and in the textbooks that were a prime resource to prepare students for the test.
Test creators seek a score spread in their questions. They seek questions that are not answered correctly by too many students. So the important material that is required by the curriculum is often not tested. How questions are determined to be most worthy for standardized testing is important.
These types of questions are popular in standardized testing because they support the common theory of testing whereby the highest achieving students answer the questions correctly. So, standardized tests can be self-affirming.
That is, if all students did well on the test then there would be no bell curve and the associate connection with where each student sits on the curve. This is probably due to the tests being skewed to reflect learning that children gain at home.
Again there is a curriculum and testing mismatch. However, students whose parents work in the service industry or work at the local grocery store may not. Answering the question correctly may not be a function of what was learned at school but rather what has been learned out of school.
Antagonists to standardized achievement testing suggest that it is not fair to check on student achievement that is not in the curriculum.
What instructors or textbooks focus on may not be reflected in the test. The requirement for a score spread in the exams means that questions that are answered by a majority of students will probably be removed because they do not discriminate enough. Conclusion The history of standardized testing suggests that the impetus for large-scale testing has been based on noble aspirations, primarily that of having the right person in the right place, whether that place is the correct job in the military or the correct form of education.
Aptitude testing for admission into colleges and universities seems to be especially effective as quantitative research has established links between such testing and later success at post-secondary institutions. Standardized tests seem to be weaker at being able to correctly indicate how much a specific student has learned. A new look at public assurance: Imagining the possibilities for Alberta students.
Teaching Quality Standard applicable to the provision of basic education in Alberta. Independent review of key stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability, final report, as written for the Department of Education. What happens to professional development.
However, some standardized test scores have been misused as a manner in which to track students, allocate school funds, and even determine teacher pay.
Standardized Testing: Fair or Not? | University of Lethbridge
Standardized tests, when used appropriately and for the right reasons, can adequately determine a student's present level of strengths and weaknesses and his or her aptitude for certain abilities. There are two basic types of achievement assessments: In a norm-referenced test, a student's scores are compared to other students' scores to determine how the child is performing in relation to others his age Woolfolk, A.
A criterion-referenced test compares a student's scores to a set standard, not to other test takers. Criterion-referenced tests usually measure specific objectives and are helpful to teachers because they measure specific academic strengths and weaknesses Woolfolk, A.
Included in these types of assessments are the three types of standardized tests: The achievement test measures how much of the material has been mastered. These tests measure mastery of such areas as reading comprehension, math computation, and verbal skills, along with social studies and sciences Woolfolk, A. The aptitude test is used to predict future performance by testing abilities which have been developed over many years Woolfolk, A.
One's score on the SAT is said to be a good indicator of his or her future performance in the first year of college, while the IQ test indicates scholastic aptitude or a student's ability to solve certain problems involved in schoolwork www. Finally, the diagnostic test score indicates the student's specific strengths and weaknesses.
Elementary school teachers may use diagnostic tests to determine a learning problem or measure other abilities which students need in order to "learn, remember, and communicate learning" Woolfolk, A. The achievement, aptitude, and diagnostic tests have proven helpful for teachers in determining how students are performing in relation to a similar group of students. The tests have been standardized after it has been administered to a norm sample, used, and revised enough times to convey consistent average levels of performance on which to use for comparison www.
Teachers may use standardized test scores to determine the learning abilities of their students as well as test what their students have mastered in a particular subject www.
These tests are also important because they can be used as one aspect of admittance to special programs, such as special education classes or gifted education classes. Standardized tests can be useful for a number of reasons. Individual students, classes, and schools use standardized tests to determine performance in relation to the norm. They provide a measure of student achievement; however, this test is just one measure of achievement, and not representative of all mastered abilities.
These tests can serve as rough guides to determine if a child is ready to advance to another grade or level Woolfolk, A.
Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality
Again, standardized tests should not be the sole determinant for advancement. Other factors such as teacher recommendations, emotional readiness, and classroom work should all be taken into consideration when advancing or retaining a student. Standardized tests may also be used as a way for teachers to approach the curriculum Woolfolk, A. While this is somewhat of a controversial practice, teachers can avoid "teaching to the test" by spending more time reviewing the areas that prove to be weaknesses for the students, and spending less time on obvious strengths.
In this way, standardized tests are used diagnostically, and not as a curriculum guide. Standardized tests may not be appreciated today because of the manners in which scores were abused in the past. As mentioned, tests can be used to determine course placement or retention, but not as a sole determinant.
Teaching to the test is another way standardized tests can be abused. Important learning opportunities such as multicultural education and enrichment learning are often nonexistent in curriculum which teaches to the test.