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  • Lioba de Graff

Is Standardised Testing in Schools a Good Thing?

In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of standardised testing in schools.

A standardised test is a method that is built for the purpose of being consistent. They are designed the same way in each test, making them consistent. Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous discussions on if standardised testing is a good thing and should be used in schools or if it has too many negative impacts, meaning it should be cancelled completely.

First, I will be discussing all of the positive aspects of standardised testing:

Having regular tests is a great way for school to keep a track record on students’ progress and helps teachers identify specific areas for improvement. The way standardised tests are built up minimizes the risk of being marked unfairly. These sorts of tests also make teachers lives a lot easier, considering the grading can be done by machines making it a lot more efficient. Another positive aspect, is that all teachers take the same test, enabling fair comparison. For those students that have a competitive side, standardised testing is proven to show much better results for them. This is because having upcoming tests that compare students, can motivate them to study harder. Standardised testing is also consistent across school and systems which can really help keeping all teachers on track. This way you can also compare different school’s progress. Lastly, standardised tests encourage students to get into healthy study habits, which can prepare them well for university and later life.

However, every argument has two sides so these are the negative aspects:

A single test can’t sufficiently tell a student’s knowledge. Even if the student had a bad day, the grade still sticks with them. Standardised testing also means teachers are ‘teaching to the test’ instead of just teaching the subject, which is a lower quality method of teaching. Low scores on one single highly graded test can limit your chances completely of getting into a good university/college. Another huge argument would be that standardised tests can’t effectively serve to all learning styles and any particular learning difficulties. Also, a single test score doesn’t provide a clear view on the student’s intelligence and ability. Going back to one of my arguments on teachers ‘teaching for the test‘, this also means students are ‘learning for the test’, meaning they will probably ignore any information/learning opportunities that are not part of the test. It also means the information doesn’t stay with them for as long. A test score also doesn’t indicate being ready for university. For example, self-motivation and resilience are factors that aren’t tested. However, I think the main argument is that standardised tests cause anxiety and a lot of stress for children. Poor results can also really knock a student‘s self – esteem.

In my opinion, standardised testing is a good thing, although I very much also agree with some of the negative aspects. I think it’s good to get in the habit of being tested because you will always have that in university so you’re being very well prepared for it.

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