Ada — Everyone knows the feeling. It’s probably pretty early in the morning. You’ve got your No. 2 pencil in hand, crisply sharpened and ready for action. Months have been spent agonizing over the importance of the standardized test you are about to take. I hope you’re ready, because your entire future could be riding on your performance. But should this be the case? I don’t think so.
Standardized tests have played a prominent role in education in the United States since World War I. That role increased dramatically after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which has added a considerable amount of fuel to the controversy. With its proponents and detractors equally passionate, and the stakes extremely high in regards to the framework of American education, the debate has never been hotter.
Those in favor of standardized testing would argue it is the fairest possible method to evaluate students across the country. Perhaps the biggest strength of these tests is that they are the same for everyone. Essentially, all students are put on the same playing field. Scoring is completely objective, as every question is multiple choice. While the means of preparation available to certain kids can vary, the test is the same. The idea of not leaving any child behind is a good one because we don’t want to fund an education system that is not educating children properly. Having even one student graduate from high school who cannot read at a second-grade level is one too many.
While standardized tests have merits, there are just too many problems with our current reliance upon standardized testing. First, there is the style of the tests themselves. All standardized achievement tests, from elementary all the way to the ACT and SAT, are multiple choice.