Standardization tests refer to evaluation exams, which are provided and graded in a standard or consistent manner. In this case, such evaluation criteria are designed so that the interpretations and questions have consistency or uniformity, and the scores are usually standard and predetermined. Standardized tests are given the same way to all those people taking them. In addition, the tests are also graded uniformly for every person involved. It seems like the start of the end of being obsessed with standardized examinations involving students in America. For many years, the American educational system has always been obsessed with having standardized tests for students. However, the country is on the brink of the collapse of such standardized tests that have always been used in college admissions and k-12 accountability purposes. Although standardization tests have always played an immense role in American education and policy, they should be abolished or replaced.
Describing the Source
Who is Speaking and their Background
In this Washington Post’s news article, the author (Valerie Strauss) is speaking on behalf of what she has researched regarding standardized tests in the American educational system (Ark). In this case, she seemed to have thoroughly researched why the obsession with standardized tests could be ending in the American educational policy.
What About the Author
The author seems very knowledgeable regarding the obsession with standardized tests in America. Valerie Strauss is a credible writer, and all the information she provides emanates from credible sources (Soika). For example, she quotes several times how former American Presidents such as Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and the current President Joe Biden thought and commented about the issue of standardized tests.
The Context or Background Information
The background information that I will summarize to help the readers understand the topic at hand regards how the American educational system has been obsessed with standardized tests for more than two decades now (Ark). In addition, the information will also demonstrate why there is a need to replace or abolish standardized tests in the American educational system.
The Various Sides of the Debate
The topic of standardized tests is very controversial and is quite emotive because some strongly support such evaluations while others oppose them. Because the topic represents some controversy, there are supporters and opposers of standardized tests (Ark). For example, former American President Barack Obama was an ardent supporter of such tests, while Joe Biden (the then Vice President) opposed it.
Whether there is a Tone or Mood that Supports an Argument
A tone or mood developed by the source suggests or supports an argument. The article’s tone is the author’s point of view, who seems to suggest that standardization tests will soon be ending in America after being there for many years (Strauss). In addition, the mood of the article’s writing also demonstrates that standardization tests are not the best for a country like the US, which persuades the readers to oppose such tests.
The Kind of Support the Author Use to Build an Argument
The author uses many data, expert opinions, and statistics to support her arguments. For example, she first claims how the American educational system has always been obsessed with standardized tests for the past two decades (Strauss). In addition, he also uses many qualitative data to show how standardization tests have influenced educational policy in the US.
The Target Audience
The article’s target audience is anyone interested in educational matters where tests and examinations are the order of the day (Soika). In addition, the article is very useful to educational policymakers who would influence the relevance or otherwise of standardized tests in the American setting.
The Cultural Background
The information from the article is suitable for people from all cultural backgrounds. However, such people have needed prior knowledge regarding educational matters in the United States for years (Ark). For example, most people who comprehend the application of SAT and ACTs as a license to be admitted to American colleges and universities would feel more persuaded by the source’s arguments. For audiences with prior knowledge regarding such tests, there is a high probability they would understand more and get persuaded by the argument.
Assumptions, Values, Ideas
There are certain assumptions, values, ideas, or beliefs reinforced by the source’s argument. For example, the COVID pandemic taught people that they could live without standardized tests. It was always assumed that students could not survive without such tests (Soika).
Whether Supportive or Skeptical of the Arguments
I support the assumptions because it is possible to live without such tests as the pandemic has demonstrated (Ark). In this case, it was difficult to administer such tests during the pandemic, and we cannot assume that students will not survive if they do not attempt such tests.
The Extent to Which to Agree
The Points the Author is arguing
The author argues the relevance of standardized tests in the present American society. I strongly agree with the author’s argument that it seems like the start of the end of standardized tests’ obsession in America (Strauss). I also agree that standardized tests should be replaced or abolished because they do not find relevant in contemporary society.
Whether the Source was Most Effective or Persuasive
I found one thing in the source most effective or persuasive (Soika). In this case, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic is persuasive enough to demonstrate that it is not always relevant to take standardized tests such as SAT and ACTs for one to get admitted to institutions of higher learning.
Whether the Source was Least Effective or Persuasive
However, one thing was least effective or persuasive in the source. The use of ACT and SAT scores as a deciding factor on people to be accepted into schools was not persuasive enough (Ark). Others parameters such as extracurricular activities and creativity should be used as well to admit students.
Whether there are Aspects of the Source that I agree and Disagree with Simultaneously
I only agree that standardized tests should be replaced or abolished in the source. The American obsession with students’ test standardization is a wrong move (Soika). College admissions should not always use standardized tests as the primary basis for acceptance. ACT and SAT scores should not be the only deciding factors in students’ admissions.
How the Source’s Arguments Make Me Feel
The source’s arguments make me feel very informed regarding the topic of standardized tests in the American educational system. Such arguments also help me comprehend the present collapse of standardized tests that have been used for over two decades (Ark). The arguments also help me understand that standardized tests should not be the only basis for holding teachers, schools, and students accountable as there are other better ways applicable.
The Points that I would Argue in Response to the Source
There are many points to argue in response to the source. For example, standard tests should not be the only parameter for measuring the competence of students seeking college admissions (Cornett). I also agree with the concerted efforts by American colleges and universities to drop the idea or requirement for SAT and ACT scores for at least one year. Standardized tests cannot solve all the problems that exist in schools.
Why My Argument in this Conversation is Important
The argument in this conversation is important because it helps analyze the future of standardization testing. It is always wrong to assume that standard tests are an effective means through which students’ competence is measured and evaluated (Strauss). In addition, it is not true that such standard exams determine students’ achievement. Therefore, there is a need to replace such tests if it would not be possible to abolish them. Even if standardization tests are not abolished, a friendlier testing environment should replace them.
There is a need to replace or abolish standardized tests in contemporary educational policy. The COVID-19 pandemic became a game-changer by making standardized tests irrelevant by default. Although it had never been planned, the coronavirus epidemic highlighted the irrelevance o insignificance of having or taking standardized tests. There is a wrong notion that students have to be tested to succeed. Tests such as SAT and ACT became famous for decades because of wrong assumptions. The notion that having standardized tests is effective because it measures students’ achievement is wrong and has always received challenges and condemnation in equal measure.
Ark, Tom. “A Proposal for End of Standardization Testing.” Forbes, 2019.
Cornett, Claire. “Should Standardized Tests Be Abolished?” Lafayette Times, 2022.
Soika, Brian. “The SAT May Be Abolished. What Will Replace It?” USC Rossier School of Education, 2021. Web.
Strauss, Valerie. “Efforts to Reduce Standardized Testing Succeeded in Many School Districts in 2017. Here’s Why and How.” The Washington Post, 2017.
Strauss, Valerie. “It Looks Like the Beginning of the End of America’s Obsession With Student Standardization Tests.” The Washington Post, 2020.