Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Standardized Testing: Pros & Cons?

This is a topic that I have very strong opinions about, mostly due to personal experiences as a teacher. I am not against all testing, per say, but I do think that schools and districts need to limit the amount of testing they are subjecting today's students to. 

This is my 8th year of teaching at the elementary level. Over the years, I've seen my fair share of standardized tests in the classroom. I've had to administer the yearly state tests on many occasions. I've also had to administer other fairly lengthy tests that either a district or school required on a regular basis. 

I understand that data from testing can be very useful to both a school and parents. I understand that if used correctly, it can help to address the areas of needs that a particular student may have. I am okay with that, and in fact, I encourage testing data to be used in that way. 

What I am not okay with, is subjecting students as young as age 6 to repeated, regular, lengthy, standardized tests!! I have seen way too much of that, heard about it and read about, and I have noticed so many negatives from my observations and readings. Some students have stopped trying on these tests. They have been tested so much, that they are no longer putting forth the efforts that they are capable of. Thus,the data is completely skewed now. Some students will rush through all testing that is required while others drag it out because they simply do not want to do it. This is happening at all grade levels. It is happening around the country.

If a school wants to require these types of lengthy standardized tests so often, they need to teach their teachers how to read and use the data. Many teachers do not understand the whys behind these tests, nor how to use the data appropriately. Thus, they are also not able to explain it to parents accurately. It's really an unfair situation to all involved. 

Lastly, it angers me to see how many districts and states are even considering using testing data to determine teacher effectiveness. Testing scores should NEVER be tied into teacher evaluations. Period. We cannot control how students will do on one particular testing day, nor can one test truly show that a student does in fact know subject matter. 

Students can be evaluated in so many ways. Having more than one GIANT, important standardized test per year, really doesn't seem that necessary. I remember as a kid that we only had maybe a few days of testing per school year. This year, I test more than I teach. It's a very sad reality and I worry for my own children someday. Students are tested so much throughout the year, I really do worry about how they will do on the test that really matters come springtime. 

If we are to compete globally in the education sector, things need to change and they need to change NOW! Testing has to be one area that needs to be part of this change. 

Below I am including many links. Some show the Pros of standardized testing, while others show Cons. No matter what side you agree with, one thing is for certain: Education needs to benefit the student and prepare them for the real world! Teaching them how to fill in circles, click on an answer, or just merely answer questions over and over is not teaching them valuable life skills or subject matter. 

Thanks for listening! Please feel free to add your comments as well. Have a great day!


  1. Amen!!!! The pressure on the students and teachers is getting out of control. Thanks for sharing.

  2. No problem! It's always good to know that I am not alone on my thoughts with this topic.

  3. It has really gotten out of hand. This year's benchmarks have changed. My youngest son usually scores very high on them. This year he's bombed them. Math has always been his strong subject. He usually makes high B's and A's in it and enjoys problem solving. Reading would be his weaker subject. If he makes any C's, it's in reading. After his most recent benchmark testing, he came home upset because he was referred for tutoring in none other than Math. His favorite subject that he makes good grades in. Not reading. Math. All because of the benchmark. And not only did he bomb the test, so did the majority of the other kids. So, how are these tests measuring anything?

  4. You said it so well, Linda! It's a very, very sad reality. We are doing nothing to prepare today's youth for the future by testing them so much. Where did "teaching" go? :-(

  5. Very well put. To assess a teachers "performance" as a result of a child's performance on a given test is definitely not a valid indicator. Home life, allergies, boredom, whatever can all be reasons a child may show a better classroom performance from one day to the next.



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