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Assessment & Standardized Testing Issues

by Dr. Nesa Sasser

Standardized testing issues trigger many problems. Teachers are not able to be as creative with the curriculum as they have to adhere to strict curriculum guidelines of standardized testing. More schools are being equipped with electronic testing tools to handle the large number of students who test online instead of the traditional paper and pencil method. Critics say standardized testing narrowly focuses on students passing tests instead of students learning life-long skills.

Reduces Creativity

Critics of standardized tests claim they reduce classroom creativity and propose that they do not allow students to engage in fun activities that aren't centered around standardized tests. Teachers have to mirror their local tests to state and national testing requirements. According to the Washington Post, in an article titled "The Complete List of Problems with High-Stakes Standardized Tests," author Marion Brady says teachers oppose standardized tests because they place a high level of focus on ensuring that marginal students pass. Teachers know that a high percentage of above-average students will pass state and national exams.

Special Education Issues

Some critics say that students who have learning disabilities are treated unfairly. They have to be included in general education classrooms primarily to receive instruction that is similar to information on standardized tests. During testing, these students may be divided into groups based on their needs for brighter or dimmer lighting or small-group testing to cut down on distractions of students who need directions read to them. These situations may embarrass students when being separated from their peers.

Technology

With today's technology, it's probable that that all testing will eventually be handled electronically instead of via paper and pencil tests. Reasons for the shift is that humans make errors while compiling large amounts of test papers. Schools may have to invest funds to reconfigure school computer labs in order to upload and maintain testing data and scored tests, because some schools may not have ample hardware or storage.

Varying State Standards

In the article on the Great Schools website, "State Standardized Test Scores: Issues to Consider," the author says each state chooses its own standards, and so student assessments may vary. Students who reside in different states during the school year may encounter more or less rigor on state assessments. The quantity of testing may also vary from state to state.

About the Author

Dr. Nesa Sasser has served as teacher, school counselor, principal, and college professor. She earned a BBA in accounting from Texas A&M University; an MS in counseling; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership both from Texas A&M Univeristy-Commerce. Her dissertation related to Teacher Quality and Alternative Certification in Texas.

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