Standardized testing is a process of evaluation that involves a standard or consistent manner. It interprets and administers test score in a standard manner for all individuals taking the test. The efficiency of standardized testing has always been a question. Some think it is completely fair to evaluate people through standardized testing, some others are against it and find it quite unfair.
To decide whether standardized testing is fair or not, we should first evaluate its pros and cons to have a clear picture of standardized testing based on facts and logic. Following are some benefits of standardized testing.
A metric of learning:
Standardized testing proves to a metric of learning. It helps educators evaluate the quality of their curriculum. These tests are usually free of biases as neutral testing agencies, and independent organizations give them. The data obtained from standardized testing, such as test scores, can be compared with other national and international schools to check efficiency.
Highlights areas that need improvement:
Another benefit of standardized testing is that it highlights key areas in an educational system that requires improvement and attention. Through test scores, educational experts can easily evaluate where they need to concentrate their efforts. The test results simply depict the effectiveness of an education program. Along with assessing students’ academic performance, standardized testing also pinpoints the areas that are going well and those that need improvement. This administration can prepare their plan to retain performance in good performance areas and improve weak ones.
Standardized testing is a source of evaluation of academic performance by schools. They can see the variance in their performance by comparing previous performance with the current one and see whether they are going in the right direction or not. They can recognize what steps are causing improvement in results and the downsides that are causing hindrances in progress.
Provides a benchmark:
Standardized test scores provide a benchmark for students and educators to evaluate and compare their respective performance in relation to those who score high. They can get motivation from this to outshine others with their performance. It encourages them to improve their performance. Teachers are also motivated to find teaching methods that are the most effective for students to help them learn better. It creates an environment of healthy competition among students as they strive to prove themselves better than others in terms of abilities.
A big advantage of standardized testing is that it promotes a consistent curriculum in schools across the country; despite the difference in so many factors such as financial status, geographical location, nature of school etc., all students in a country study the same curriculum. This is beneficial for educators as well, as they are only focused on improving their teaching methods instead of designing curriculum.
Standardized testing also has its downside, due to which its effectiveness is questioned. Following are some cons of standardized testing.
Test scores have an impact on the confidence level of students. Where high scores can elevate confidence level among students, low marks can shatter it badly. This is a huge disadvantage on the part of standardized testing. Test scores are usually used to judge a student’s abilities which is a bad practice. Tests are only a source of evaluating a student’s learning proficiency in a particular subject. Judging students based on their test scores affect their self-confidence. Taking a test efficiently itself is a skill that all students cannot master. But that does not mean that they are not capable enough.
Impact on teaching process:
The pressure of standardized tests impacts the teaching process, and teachers are focused on teaching for the test. Instead of teaching to build students’ understanding and knowledge, instructors teach them to get good marks in the test irrespective of whether they actually learn anything. This thing kills the real learning objective and harms the structure of the educational process. Students learn concepts for the short term and forget everything after taking the test. Moreover, when educators realize that their performance is evaluated on the basis of the test scores of their students, they stop using new techniques to teach students. Innovation and creativity suffer a lot. Their primary objective becomes to prepare students for the test.
No evaluation of students’ actual abilities:
Standardized testing is basically concerned with testing a particular intelligence among students and neglects other talents, skills and bits of intelligence that they may have. It means that it is not the right measure to depict the true picture of a student’s abilities. However, it is usually considered to be performing this function also. Due to this, there exist many complications in the system, and standardized testing becomes a nightmare for students in some situations. There are several factors that may affect test scores, such as test anxiety, unfamiliarity with the test, illness and cultural factors. A low test score does not always represent poor subject knowledge. It may sometimes be an indicator of a problem with taking a test. Maybe a student who is proficient at cheap assignment writing UK finds it difficult to choose from multiple options.
Causes unnecessary stress:
Unfortunately, standardized testing, which is meant to evaluate people’s capabilities, sometimes proves to be a reason for causing stress among them. Some students feel the pressure to perform well on the test more than others. It may cause them major stress, which is harmful to mental as well as physical health. It also affects their memory, and their interest in studies may also decline due to stress. If they do not get their desired test scores, they may develop insecurity and question their abilities.
Limit learning’s scope:
Standardized testing appears to limit the scope of learning by concentrating only on students’ learning ability and memory. It neglects other significant skills and abilities such as creative writing, analytical abilities, reading, reasoning, art, etc. Test scores only represent one aspect of learning and do not include soft skills that are necessary for learning.
Keeping in view the advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing, a person can evaluate its effectiveness. In order to improve its effectiveness, it is crucial to reduce the effect of disadvantages. Moreover, standardized testing should not be considered the sole measure to evaluate students’ abilities. Internal and external assessments must be used to get a better picture of students’ capabilities and academic excellence.