Do High-Stakes Assessments Improve Learning?

Essay by ReggaeyouthUniversity, Master'sA, February 2010

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State the main pro ideas:The proliferation of standardized tests has been quite noticeable, mainly in the United States. This is as a result of the number of national reports which found America's public schools to be lacking in production of students who can adapt to the changing society. It was therefore expected that students' performance would be improved by imposing statewide standardized tests of subject matter and mental skills.

Researchers such as Joan L. Herman feels that a standardized testing program ensures acquisition of basic skills, holds schools accountable for results, and identifies problem areas. It is also claimed that test such as these allow the educational ability of schools and teachers to be evaluated, with intentions of improving education. It may also give teachers feedbacks as to the level at which students are performing.

State the main con ideas:Based on the article, it is quite obvious that the negatives of the High Stakes tests far outweigh the positives.

The author highlighted researchers such as Peter Sacks who believes that when thinking becomes standardized people are easily objectified. This same argument is supported by Alfie Con who believes that raising standards has come to mean little more than higher scores on poorly-designed standardized tests leading to the abandonment of the best kind of teaching and learning.

Researchers such as John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky strongly support the constructivist method of learning, whereby students construct an understanding of knowledge used in problem solving situations. The High Stakes tests do not allow for much of that to be done.

State your opinion on the issue:In my opinion, students' knowledge cannot be judged from standardized or High Stakes tests. Many of the things that students have learned and will use in the future are not covered or too much knowledge...