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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Benefits and Advantages of Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has a rich history. The initial record was in China around 2200 BC. The Chinese government administered written examinations to applicants who are interested in the Civil Service. The examinations were based on memorizing information and lasted over four thousand years. Many European universities also utilized standardized testing as part of their entrance exams. Standardized testing did not appear in the United States until the middle of 19th century. Prior to the Industrial revolution, education was a symbol of opulence. A good number people during that time did not study because it was unnecessary to their profession. The revolution changed this perception and at that time employers looked for educated people. The immigration percentage was increasing. Therefore, there is a need for an objective testing that will be fair to all.

A standardized test is one which is given under standardized or controlled conditions which categorize where, how, when and how long an individual may respond to the questions.  (Gardner) Standardized tests have qualities. These tests have an exact process of administration and scoring. The queries are consequent from the knowledge based on experience. There is a layout as well as a set of materials needed during the tests. All the test takers will do the same tasks. These tests make available tables of norms to which the scores can be compared with so as to determine the standing of the test taker.  (Holloway)

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There are three basic kinds of standardized tests. First, the achievements tests that aim to assess how much a student has learned. It allows keeping track of the progress of students. An example of which is the Stanford Achievement Test. Second, the scholastic aptitude tests which seek to assess the general capability of a student to learn. This test usually shows how much a student has learned from his everyday experiences. Third, the specific aptitude tests that aims to predict the performance of a student in a precise domain of knowledge. One example is the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test. (Ormrod)

There are many advantages in administering standardized tests in place of more complex assessments. The first benefit is practicality. These tests are less time-consuming because they do not need personal time with each and every student. It is easier to administer since there are already directions specified. The second advantage is objectivity. The teacher in charge of personal assessments can let their biases affect on how they score the student unlike standardized tests. The third point is that these tests can also be an instigator of change. With these tests, people can identify the problems in a district and take steps in correcting them.  (Gardner) The fourth argument is that it promotes accountability. These tests motivate the students to take their education seriously. The last one is standardization of the learnings of the students in a country. When students come from different school districts, one knows that these students have been exposed to the same concepts and same tools.

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