The Cons of Standardized Testing as an Evaluation Tool

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Standardized testing has been an issue of discussion in recent years. The testing method was developed and utilized as an effective way of measuring the intelligence of students. The primary purpose of using the model was to identify students with potential mental retardation. However, many students, parents, and teachers do not consider these tests beneficial to students, while school administrators and boards maintain that these tests are required for accountability. Instructors are usually assessed by how well their students perform on standardized tests, and that can shift education to methods whose curriculum is greatly focused on making students ready for standardized tests. That can make students miss out on more comprehensive learning. Standardized tests have historically been used to measure student achievement, but researchers now know that these tests cannot fully evaluate a student’s competency overall (Zimmer, 2018). Standardized tests should be eliminated in public schools because they do not effectively measure student knowledge. Students with learning disabilities and language barriers are at a disadvantage, and poor test scores can be detrimental to students’ mental health. For students with disabilities, standardized tests are cognitively unsuitable. They might become a traumatic and grueling exercise, wasting much time that could be devoted to working to accomplish their personal learning goals. Using standardized tests to assess students with disabilities puts testing before delivering appropriate supports, services, and instructions. Special educators note that access to appropriate instruction and support is increasingly limited by inadequate staffing and budget, while investments in the development and administration of tests continue to increase.

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The standardized testing system was introduced by a French analyst, Alfred Binet, with the objective of measuring learners’ intellectual skills. Over the years, the testing system has developed into a global system of measuring academic excellence, and most learning institutions have developed it into a central academic success measurement tool among students (Knoester & Au, 2017). Standardized testing involves consistently. The basic concept of standardized tests is giving all students similar questions with similar answers and grading them using the same criteria. The tests include a range of questions from easy to complex in various subjects. Aside from those given to school-aged students, common standardized examinations include driving tests and ethical ethics exams (Au, 2016). Anticipated query comprehension, ranking methods, and preset or predetermined response sets are all consistent across the studies. Standardized assessments are created in such a way that every student gets the same exams, under the same constraints or learning setting, all within the same time limit (Au, 2016). Despite the fact that most educational institutions require students to take standardized examinations, the assessment system does not accurately assess a student’s competence, imagination, and intellect.

Seifert and Sutton conducted a comprehensive study of plurality teachers’ views and value systems on standardized test administration. The researchers discovered that many teachers think students react differently to their learning environment, which influences their cognitive reaction to specific learning elements. Standardized assessments offer a hierarchical system for assessing learners’ developmental habits and comprehension without functionally considering the psychological and socio-behavioral factors of their experience of their learning environment. In addition, they contend that most teachers believe that the decisive function of learning is to grasp a learner’s belief structure and how this belief system influences their reaction to exams. As a result, when learners are faced with a structured testing model with preset answers, these answers restrict their ability to understand topics and confine their system of beliefs within a restricted line of thinking as defined by the provided answers, particularly in multiple-choice queries.

Noticeably, while supplying educators with in-class judgment, standardized testing does not adequately capture the immense awareness and comprehension that each pupil personally identifies with their study (Seifert & Sutton, n.d.). In terms of context, students have unique skills and interpretive styles that enable them to design and perceive certain facets of learning beyond the strata provided in the answers. These explanations are not generally incorrect, but they are limited given the limited responses given. These constraints stifle the learners’ imagination and ability. Furthermore, standardized assessments are not driven by intelligence but rather achievements because the context of assessment does not rely on the learner’s abilities and imagination but rather on obtaining the correct response.

Along with the current educational systems, the underlying facets of standardized testing serve as instruments for differential programming, resulting in compound disparities and inequality in educational institutions. Knoester and Au concluded this argument in a 2017 study that reviewed the general impact of standardized testing on the discrimination of learners by race and class in learning institutions. The basic evaluation measures used in assessing students’ competitive capabilities and cognitive capacities from various backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, and genders have revealed difficult situations of critical shortcomings that necessitate substantive institutional change (Knoester & Au, 2017). The psychometric foundation of these structural lapses leads to appraisal inequalities in learners, which may not consider their learning experiences or contexts, resulting in perceived intellectual impairment. Standardized testing aims to provide a consistent forum for assessing students’ various abilities and incorporating these academic differences into their overall professional growth and college qualification.

Standardized testing is a significant cause of educational discrimination in the United States. The failure of students to integrate important developmental problems is one of the assessment biases correlated with standardized testing (Strauss, 2017). For starters, the test appraisal fails to emphasize the past psychological problems of so many immigrants, who are mostly refugees from parts of Africa, South America, and the Pacific Region, which dramatically impact their perception of important learning patterns in the region (Knoester & Au, 2017). These encounters impact their ability to compete with students who have been introduced to great learning platforms, environments and are free of deprivation and group abuse over the generations (Knoester & Au, 2017). Due to the absence of a holistic paradigm to sieve the various negative events that may have influenced these students’ contextual cognitive competence, these research tools are distorted and unsatisfactory.

Besides that, using standardized assessments for various culturally predisposed students worldwide fails to integrate the students’ demands for linguistic standardization adequately. Linguistic makeup is a significant bias correlated with standardized testing as an instrument to measure the success of behavioral and cognitive maturity in students (Popham, 2017). Most multicultural international students’ shortage of adaptive development in English causes a communication barrier that does not accurately reflect their intellectual ability and skills (Knoester & Au, 2017). The traditional cognitive testing assessments lack a systematic framework that can thread various facets of deficiencies among students and establish a consistent forum for assessing their academic needs and cognitive ability. The assessments assess key essential cognitive skills, including adoptive habits and IQ in students. Since linguistically and culturally diverse students can lack aggregate performance scores that can measure their real determinate intellect and intellectual capabilities, these two variables are highly biased and discriminatory.

The community’s viewpoint on the scope of standardized tests reflects a need for legislative reforms to create a more comprehensive approach to measuring learners’ cognitive and intellect. In 2017, Olfos et al. explored the community’s outlook on standardized testing and provided its consequences on global policies. The researchers found that systematic testing, which originated in the traditional Chinese culture, has had an influence on global learning and growth processes over the years. The key results are that the narrow reach of structured tests impairs the opportunity to estimate and encourage open class issues (Lewis, 2016). Therefore, standardized testing has consistently been seen as a standard of academic competition and achievement among learners, considering evolving innovation and implementation rates of more flexible systems of the educational process.

These narrower viewpoints eventually affect the learners’ skills and imaginative competition. Olfos et al. (2017) discussed how standardized tests impair the ability of students to engage with real-world situations. Learning is expected to thrive on real-world encounters and learner aspirations. The utilization of standardized tests prevents learners these chances to handle real-world problems, cocooning them in a confined space and atmosphere of logic that does not align with real-life desires (Gillmore, n.d). According to the study, standardized tests do not consider the special needs, native language, exam anxiety, or diversity of the students (Olfos et al., 2017). Real-life demands from the real world necessitate learners to interrogate topics separately and present unsanctioned viewpoints without a narrow continuum between right and wrong, as shown by generic responses for regular examinations. The study concludes that standardized tests do not consider the students’ special needs and native language, diversity, and exam anxiety.

The study, titled ‘The use and validity of standardized achievement tests for evaluating new curricular interventions in mathematics and science,’ by Sussman and Wilson (2019), provides an investigational analysis of how students’ learning correlated with standardized testing impacts the evaluation competitiveness of learners. The study aimed to develop a meta-review of how the replicative use of preset responses to assess learners’ ability and definition comprehension hinders assessment in complex fields such as math and science. The research-based central point is that STEM subjects (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) necessitate innovative usages of principles among students who are dissimilar in different categories (Sussman & Wilson, 2019). The study found that there is widespread unreasonable utilization of standardized assessments that undermine the legitimacy of educational assessments, specifically in STEM subjects with large gaps in knowledge and deficiencies in understanding various learning concepts. Furthermore, the review found that standardized assessments are inconsistent with the intervention’s instructional goals. Learning objectives are specifically designed to encourage learners’ imagination and consciousness in reasoning (Sussman & Wilson, 2019). These creative abilities and consciousness of logic cannot be accommodated by the use of quantitative instruction since the spectrum of rationality and understanding of learning patterns within learners is fundamentally distinct and cannot be completely captured in preset assessments.

Standardized testing has significantly lowered educational efficiency in the United States. Swartz (2019) conducted a study to assess standardized test receptive cultural assimilation and how it impacts students and teachers’ overall studying and training experience. The study found that the new standardized testing systems in the United States have profoundly fueled the wheels of low educational results. The premise of this point is that, rather than learners and teachers concentrating on competence and competitive concept comprehension, which have a long-term impact on the students’ academic satisfaction, educators rely on short-term success and school ranking (Strauss, 2020). The primary cause for the decline of standardized testing expertise in large universities and society is a lack of long-term focus on molding learners to be autonomous analysts of concepts.

Furthermore, public anxiety and apprehension over school and performance have led to the new standardized assessment methods losing their underlying credibility in fostering intelligence in students and only seeking to instill short-term results. As a result of standardized examinations, US students are receiving less education than they should (Swartz, 2019). Less schooling is the product of a long-term emphasis on the test cycle and the resulting successful marks, which ignores the necessary lifelong skills of imagination and self-examination of learning phenomena in pupils.

Standardized testing necessitates systematic readjustments and systemic alignment of the implementation tools in order to assess aptitude rather than instill learners with short-term performance in the form of successful grades. Morgan (2016) examined the necessity for educators to reexamine high-stakes standardized testing in order to make sure learners gain a more reasonable perspective of their academic understanding and cognition without being bound to particular question-answer assessments that limit innovation. Morgan believes that there is a need for a modern curriculum agenda focused on a more authentic approach to teacher evaluation by investigating how top-performing countries use different assessment approaches to build more equality and achieve improved results (Morgan, 2016). According to Morgan, a multifactor collective assessment is required to evaluate all observable features of learning, such as cleverness, imagination, behavioral comprehension, and concept comprehension among students.

The collaborative evaluation considers the differences among these learners creatively, ensuring an all-inclusive synthesis of each student’s learning skills. The adopted methodology of providing separate guidelines for measuring cognitive ability across diverse populations is the path forward in addressing the limitations of standardized assessments (Morgan, 2016). Both vital facets of learning should be captured by a suggestive pragmatic cognitive and instructional achievement assessment method. The following are the elements that the collaborative evaluation approach should provide in order to meet the needs of prospective students from varied cultural backgrounds who are taking the exams.

To begin, using multi-culturally responsive evaluation techniques to ensure that the cultural diversity of every student is considered an essential assessment tool. Second, using arithmetical processes and techniques to assess the impact of cultural diversity and environmental differences among learners and reevaluate cognitive assessments to make them more oriented toward assessing cross-cultural changes among pupils (Morgan, 2016). Finally, a meta-factor strategy toward collaborative education among students and teachers is needed. This mutual relationship is necessary to train both students and teachers as learners instead of teachers as educators and students as learners (Morgan, 2016). By broadening the learning experience with this unrestricted teaching strategy.

Standardized tests cannot adequately assess a student’s achievement as it only measures a small part of what students learn in class. The tests do not gauge the student as a whole, and many skills that are important in students are left out when evaluating students using this model. Students learn to memorize only information on the tests, which is just a fragment of skills that students need to be successful. Skills like critical thinking, creativity, imagination, ethical reflection, goodwill, commitment, judgment, curiosity, and other valuable attributes and dispositions are important to students, and standardized tests cannot assess students in these areas. Different styles of learning allow students to acquire different skills, and it does not mean that a particular skill is more important than the other. Testing only achievements in certain topics does not give a comprehensive image when teachers are trying to determine a student’s accomplishments. By testing children on particular topics only and not accounting for skills that cannot be quantified, students’ unique skills and talents will not be adequately measured. That would mean that the grades are not accurate. There are no standardized tests in public schools that can adequately evaluate every student’s development.


In conclusion, America’s main feature of gauging analytical abilities and behavioral adaptation to the students’ learning process is contextualizing cognitive success through structured test tools. The latest institutional structured test tools of measurement have important facets of output biases. These biases have a significant impact on students’ competitiveness and success skills. Furthermore, the cognitive tool of measurement fails to account for essential facets of the developmental process, such as stressful interactions by marginalized learners and a lack of successful academics in the early developmental stages of students from immigrant communities. These prejudices impair students’ academic ability, and the assessments do not, in most situations, represent the actual cognitive ability of the students. Studies prove that standardized tests are a critical disadvantage for students, limiting their spectrum of imagination and intellectual freedom. The inability to evaluate activities and understand learners’ processes outside of the fixed provisions of structured assessments and fixed responses deprives learners of the luxury of imagination and intellectual development. As a result, the instruments are simply a measure of students’ academic success or failure using grades rather than measuring their long-term intelligence.


Au, W. (2016). Meritocracy 2.0: High-stakes, standardized testing as a racial project of neoliberal multiculturalism. Educational Policy, 30(1), 39-62. Web.

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Lewis, K. (2016). Standardized testing hits a nerve. USA TODAY Back to School Magazine. Web.

Morgan, H. (2016). Relying on high-stakes standardized tests to evaluate schools and teachers: A bad idea. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 89(2), 67-72. Web.

Olfos, R., Vysotkiy, I. R., Santos-Trigo, M., Isoda, M., & Rampal, A. (2017). Scope of Standardized Tests. Group, 17(17.29), 17-30. Web.

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Seifert, K., & Sutton, R. Issues with Standardized Tests. Foundations of Education. n.d. Web.

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Strauss, V. (2020). Why teachers shouldn’t give kids standardized tests when school starts. The Washington Post. Web.

Sussman, J., & Wilson, M. R. (2019). The use and validity of standardized achievement tests for evaluating new curricular interventions in mathematics and science. American Journal of Evaluation, 40(2), 190-213. Web.

Swartz, M. (2019). Are Texas Kids Failing? Or Are the Tests Rigged?. Texas Monthlymagazine. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Cons of Standardized Testing as an Evaluation Tool." July 21, 2022.