Standardized Testing In Schools: The Analysis

1903 words - 8 pages

Standardized Testing in Schools: The Analysis


Within this paper we hope to answer lingering questions about the effectiveness of standardized testing in schools. Throughout our research we found many instances and sources of information to help us reach our goal. Standardized Testing had grown to play an enormous role in controversy concerning the Education system within the past decade. Hopefully throughout our paper it can be understood as to why this occurred and what can be done about it.

Group Paper: Standardized Testing in Schools

Standardized tests are used all over the country as a means to measure students’ academic performance. Often the students become ...view middle of the document...

SAT-Prep classes are widely available, as are “words of the day” and other means of drilling information into a student’s head. Although this is usually a good way to institute information, often students blank out and forget the information because they are so overwhelmed with what has been thrown at them information-wise. SAT-Prep classes focus on both math and verbal components. However, only verbal-based questions seem to appear in every day situations within a school. One never sees a SAT “math problem of the day”.

Even though teachers are trying to help students achieve higher SAT scores, not all students are living up to the challenge. Colleges are becoming more and more demanding, while the students are struggling to master the tests that will get them there. The SAT “distorts educational priorities,” (Brainard, 2001). The test “…is not measuring much…resources are being devoted to prepping kids for a test that is not well aligned with our educational goals” (Casper, 2003). A wider range of skills or high school records should have the ability to be measured through the administration of this test. Often times a student does not perform well one day, but excels above the rest of his class the next. High school is full of academic well as social ups and downs, but SAT scores unfortunately do not reflect this. It is not uncommon for a student to rise one hundred or more points above his previous SAT score on his next attempt (Gerold, 2003). However, his average of the two tests is already set back due to the stress he may have been encountering during his first attempt. Stress is already a huge problem in the world of high school students without the SAT circulating throughout their minds as well.

Test results play a big role in the educational judgment of a particular school. Howard County Department of Schools in Howard County, Maryland recently released the test results of the MSPAP from the year 2002. Included in the report was a comparison for the 1999 through 2001 school years. Eighth grade students in Howard County received the following scores: (Satisfactory scores)

Reading Writing Language Math Science Social Studies
2001 39.8 58.8 60.4 67.3 69.5 64.5
2000 37.9 64.4 62.1 67.6 68.3 65.2
1999 33.3 57.1 59.9 66.5 65.7 59.0

(Sedam, 2003). Although the results may have dropped slightly in some areas from year to year, there was no huge difference between the scores. Small changes in test scores are “…probably insignificant unless they are part of a steady pattern of over three or more years” (Patten, 2000). If the scores had taken a jump down by a ten percent or greater difference, the school would then be pressured to increase their scores. The MSPAP was last administered in the 2002-2003 fiscal year. Since that year it has been decided that the MSPAP would be replaced with the Maryland School Assessment (MSA). The MSAs are tests developed to assess what students have learned throughout a given...

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