Pros & cons of standardized tests

Written by tonya abari
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Pros & cons of standardized tests
Standardised tests are used to place students in appropriate classes. (taking test image by Petro Feketa from Fotolia.com)

Standardised tests are a measure of a student's academic knowledge in various subjects. The tests often are used to place students in appropriate classes and grade levels and provide data about state and national subject-area standards.

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Accountability

One of the positive things about standardised tests is student and teacher accountability. Students are tasked with learning specific skills and being able to apply them on a formal assessment. This accountability also allows teachers to readjust instruction based on individual scores. If any student needs work in a particular area, the teacher can address these inadequacies appropriately.

Objectivity

In most cases, standardised tests are objective. There are wrong or right answers, and there is no room for feelings or emotions. The basic premise involves knowing and applying the designated skill.

Diminished Creativity

A disadvantage is the tendency of standardised tests to force teachers to "teach to the test." Some teachers feel a decrease of creativity in their lesson planning.

Emotional Effects

Standardised tests can have emotional effects on the students taking them. Students get test anxiety and can become overly competitive with their peers.

Test Bias

Many educators, parents and students believe standardised tests are biased because test questions might not address students with disabilities, varying cultures, language barriers or gender and socioeconomic factors.

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