Standardized testing is a comprehensive and commonly adopted approach of evaluating one’s knowledge in an allegedly fair manner. While it enables students to enter the workforce as school graduates or continue their studies in college, the current use of this assessment strategy is widely debated due to its numerous drawbacks. Passive learning, unrealistic expectations, and cultural bias are the three main issues of standardized testing.
Firstly, standardized testing prioritizes information memorization over the actual knowledge and promotes studying for the expected questions rather than learning valuable skills that the subjects offer. Starr (2017) highlightes that both teachers and parents encourage children to focus on preparing for the examination by adapting to the test’s structure, requirements, and a specific bundle of passive information. Preparation rarely translates to the long-term knowledge outside of the classroom and devalues the learning outcomes in other untested subjects like art, physical education, and music in favor of the desired scores.
The second issue of standardized testing is the disconnect with the skills learned in school and the expectations of college admission officers and employers. While standardized evaluation requires passive memorization, classroom experience emphasizes skills such as teamwork and critical thinking that will be helpful in the future but are not tested (Starr, 2017). This approach makes such examination inapplicable to real-life needs that a future graduate will be assessed by when applying to college or for a job.
The third drawback of standardized testing is its cultural bias that perpetuates White-centeredness and ethnic oppression. According to Starr (2017), such examination is structed through the lens of European and American history and traditions, which favors pupils of dominantly Caucasian descent. Students who grew up in a different ethnic environment may find it difficult to shift their perspective to score high and need more time and preparation. Cultural bias in student evaluation creates an unfair gap between children from a privileged background and pupils who grew up in another culture.
In conclusion, standardized testing, despite its high usability due to its time and cost-effectiveness, is not ideal for assessing students’ capabilities. Throughout years of practice, it has shown numerous problems like prioritizing passive memorization over active learning, promoting the skillset that is inapplicable to one’s future, and the lack of inclusivity. Given all the downsides of standardized testing, an alternative form of examination is needed.
Starr, J. P. (2017). Leadership: The paradox of standardized testing. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(3), 72–73. Web.