Every student is familiar with the process of standardized testing. They bring their No. 2 pencils into an abnormally silent classroom where they race the clock and try not to forget what they have learned.
Students have long been told that this one-size-fits-all approach is an effective way of evaluating a student’s progress and capabilities, but educators are now joining the masses against standardized testing.
Results from a 2015 survey by the National Education Association show that 70 percent of educators do not believe standardized tests are developmentally appropriate. This is because children develop different skills at different speeds. One child may not be ready for challenging reading, but he or she may excel in mathematics.
At the high-school level, in preparation for the ACT and SAT, standardized testing becomes even more debilitating.
The final two years of high school are an incredibly stressful time in which students have to make major decisions about their future for the first time. Standardized tests teach students how to become master test-takers, not how to process subject matters so they transfer to long-term memory. Students do not need to add standardized tests to a pile of already overwhelming preparations.
The University of California, Los Angeles, is one school offering an alternative to standardized tests. UCLA’s new testing allows students to explain their answers. Multiple choice-style tests teach students how to manipulate tests, not how to master large amounts of material.
Educators at all levels should use a variety of methods to account for students at different levels; they should allow students to explain their thought process and optimize the material being learned, rather than the way to properly take a test.