Cause and Effect Essay: Effects of Standardized Testing in the USA

Standardized Testing essay

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, you’re familiar with the concept of standardized testing. Although there are pros and cons to standardized testing in the USA, the fact is there are many more cons that show why standardized testing is bad. Let’s get in-depth about the cause of these standardized tests and how negative the effects can actually be.

The standardized testing definition encompasses the idea that these tests were created in order to evaluate a student’s performance in the particular moment, showing individual progress on a certain day. Although these tests were instituted to test knowledge and summarize the gained knowledge in a certain period of time. But there are many negative effects of such a testing system, which are not talked as much about as the benefits of standardized testing. So, what are the negative effects of such a system and how does it influence both students and teachers?

Firstly, standardized testing, as mentioned above rates a performance of a student on a particular day. This doesn’t involve any external factors. Some students may not be good at tests. Others might not be able to show their knowledge on tests, and express it in a proper way, while there are those who can’t focus due to personal problems. However, these external factors are never taken into consideration, and students can face certain long-term consequences, as these grades can affect the overall score.

Secondly, one of the cons of standardized testing that influences both the teacher and the student is the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare for these tests. This means both parties have to prepare proper content and put in a lot of hours, which could be used for practical exercises or expanding the knowledge further. If a test takes a lot of valuable time to prepare for, on both parties and doesn’t actually aid in the process of learning overall, then these kinds of tests aren’t actually benefiting students, but disabling them from concentrating on what really matters. Imagine being able to spend hours and days of studying each month preparing for a stressful test, participating in an important project with your study group that might expand your knowledge, skills and end up looking remarkable in your future resume? This is just one of the ways these tests can be replaced with better and much more effective method of teaching students.

Another negative effect of standardized testing is the isolation of students. A large number of tests in a semester means students don’t get to participate in activities as a group and socialize with other students, exchange ideas, help with their studies and progress. Therefore, instead of tests motivating and inspiring students to push forward, they are actually isolating students, making them work in solitude, preparing for tests, instead of focusing more on other activities. This can be both stressful and bad for your progress. Tests are supposed to evaluate your knowledge and progress, but not endanger it by putting students under too much pressure. In the long run, students are unable to focus, because they develop anxiety or are simply too tired to focus on their studies, making standardized tests overall ineffective.

In addition, tests can disable students from focusing on overall learning and getting truly in-depth when it comes to their favorite subject. Because standardized tests are frequent, most of the times, teachers are taught to teach for tests, and students to study for them. This means, students are not living up to their potential, in fact, they don’t get an opportunity to fully develop motivation and interest because they are constantly faced with the pressure of getting good grades, and acing tests. But, the stakes are high for both teachers and students, because teachers are pressured to create such tests, while students are forced to take them, as they can influence their future careers, when in fact, students don’t get enough knowledge because they don’t have an adequate amount of time.

Not a lot has been said about the negative effects of testing on healthy, but there are plenty. Students are often stuck inside, studying for days at a time. The same goes for teachers, who are often working long hours to prepare, evaluate and create tests for students. Despite some of the pros of standardized testing, the negative effects on health, including stress, anxiety, frustration, depression, inability to focus are too big to avoid. It creates an unhealthy atmosphere for students that not only disables them to study for future tests but to be truly and fully devoted to their studies.

Standardized testing statistics have shown that many school systems have been a lot of pressure in the past few years to actually introduce more and more of these tests, and score higher than ever. This need to score higher poses the question – is standardized testing effective anymore? Not only does it affect all involved in the process in terms of scores, but also emotional and physical health, because a lot of students aren’t able to meet unrealistic expectations and standards that are only getting higher with each year.

Finally, standardized tests are becoming more and more formal, devoid of any creativity. This is because of the frequency they happen, and because teachers can’t possibly achieve preparing creative and thought-provoking tests on a weekly or monthly basis. Not only is this demotivating, to say the least, for both students and teachers, it’s overall decreasing the scores and teaching the students to cram, and study for grades, and not so much for knowledge itself.

The negative effects of standardized testing include more than just the above mentioned. Although this might be the most popular method of testing so far, alternatives to standardized testing could imply several benefits for students and teachers. So far, standardized testing has shown in a more negative light, and until the system changes, students and teachers are going to pay the price of an ineffective system.

References:
http://worklife.columbia.edu/files_worklife/public/Pros_and_Cons_of_Standardized_Testing_1.pdf

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