Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why I Hate Standardized Tests

I must say that I really disagree with the whole idea of standardized tests. They might be useful in some sense but it really seems like the whole system goes against what the whole school system is trying to achieve. Educators and teachers should primarily want students to learn and possibly even enjoy learning. However, standardized tests can often get in the way of this learning process.

For example in school today I had to spend an entire period in English writing a practice essay for an AP test that I might or might not take. It took up an entire day that my teacher could have taught me something interesting in and instead made me go through an exercise where I learned very little if not nothing. I ended up being frustrated with having to write the essay which then gave me a negative impression of this class.

Teachers spend so much time teaching for standardized tests, whether they be for TAKS tests in public schools or AP tests in various AP classes. The problem is that when they do this they often have to spend a large amount of time teaching for one particular test instead of teaching to teach the kids.

: Nate Holland :


  1. the gist of my lost post was this: the taks is stupid, you're right. the act is somewhat stupid. the sat is less stupid, as it is designed to test reasoning ability.
    ap courses have to be approved by a governing body. ap tests are meant to provide a baseline of preparation for college. most classes at sas are not ap, but we're still adequately prepared. the thing on friday was also used as a class assignment. view it as a learning opportunity for critical analysis. that's what the class is supposed to be teaching.
    finally, my aunt teaches in public school in plano. there are a lot of immigrants. they don't speak english at home. these children don't do as well as standardized tests, since at a young age they just don't understand what the questions are asking. so they're put in remedial classes, even though they are capable of learning as well as, if not better than, other kids. what they've done is they've begun to implement a thrice-yearly test, where the results are supposed to measure an improvement in learning ability, as opposed to knowledge. it was designed by experts in this field, so hopefully they actually do a better job of judging ability, which they ought to since each student's test is compared only to their own earlier tests in terms of improvement, then again compared to how much everyone else improved, in order to show their learning ability against everyone else's. sorry if this was a bit terse, but my original post was swallowed by the blogger system. it was long to the point of being rambly and borderline incoherent, but i got to use fun words like efficacy. anyway, if you want more detail, ask me in another comment, or research it yourself. it just wasn't worth spending another twenty to thirty minutes trying to retype everything.

  2. I think that is really interesting James. I think that those types of tests would be better than what we have now. What I am more trying to call attention to is the fact that sometimes teachers "teach to a test" or prep the students specifically for how to take a certain test. I think it would be much better if teachers always taught with the goal being to educate the students and teach them how to learn better.