Standardized Testing: Good or Bad?
The current trend of "high stakes" standardized testing can be both a blessing and a
curse to today's school systems and students. The repercussions felt by the outcomes of
these tests often determine the financial well being of school districts, the careers of
educators and the academic future of the students who take them. One might want to
pose the following question: should so much be riding on standardized testing and are
these tests accurate indicators of a school and/or a student's performance?
Standardized testing in the United States has been performed for at least a century.
Immigrants coming to this country in the beginning of the 20th century were given
standardized tests and could be refused entry to this country based on the results. Tests in
public schools can propel a student into an advanced class or drop them into a remedial
class, adversely affecting their academic future.
The military uses standardized testing to
determine a person's military profession and can refuse enlistment based on poor results.
Also, standardized testing has been used to argue the intellectual superiority of certain
races and social groups.
The launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the subsequent space race forced public officials to
take a hard look at the context of material taught to school students. To ensure students
were being taught the proper subjects at the right level, standardized testing was
The first state to require a "minimum requirement" test for high school graduation was
Florida. However, after initial gains in tests scores, results began to level out and an
increased dropout rate was noticed among minorities and testing was halted. During the
1980's minimum requirement testing for high school graduation was almost entirely
stopped. (Amrein and Berliner 3)
In 1983, after the article A...