Standardized testing wasting time and paper

Kali Ray, Reporter

All students can easily recall taking state assessments in elementary school and junior high. Most students remember the long boring days, only made okay by the snack bags given to them to help them to do their best on the test.

However, since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, these tests have caused unfortunate and drastic changes to teaching.

A study by the National Research Council (NRC) that lasted nine years concluded in 2011 that the emphasis put on testing resulted in little progress but caused some harm.

Negative effects outweigh the few positives. Negative effects include, but are certainly not limited to, narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, limiting student engagement and driving both students and teachers alike out of schools.

Teachers began to only teach what they believed could be on the next exam as well as test tricks to increase the students’ scores. But is that really their fault?

These tests are used, in some cases, to evaluate teachers, and as NRC concluded, these assessments are not even reliable enough to judge the students taking them. Teachers are either driven out of the field, or they desperately teach to the test in a last ditch effort to keep their job.

Though the tests affect all students and limit their education, certain economic groups are harder hit than others.

Students with low-income families and minority backgrounds as well as English learners may do poorly on the test, but be rather intelligent.

However, because of that one low score, they could be put in a dumbed-down curriculum that doesn’t challenge them.

There is hope though. There are other ways to evaluate our students.

Having a few qualified educators evaluate samples of classroom work has been proven more effective, so effective in fact, that most countries use it, so why isn’t the United States?

How has it been proven? The United States is the only economically advanced country left using the multiple-choice test for educational evaluation.

Other countries use more performance-based ways to judge students and their learning. And those countries do better on standardized international exams, which ,quite ironically, are multiple choice.