According to studyusa.com, a standardized test is an exam given to all students in an extremely consistent manner, which means the questions, time given to each student, and method of scoring a test are the same for all students unless they have an Individualized Education Program or 504 program. Although all public school students are required to take standardized tests, such as the SATs, Florida State Assessments and Advanced Placement exams, these exams do more harm than good for students and their education.
One of the main drawbacks of standardized testing is it encourages teachers to only teach to the test. This means rather than covering the entire course to its full extent, most teachers only teach the material that will appear on these end of the year exams, narrowing the course curriculum. According to the Center on Education Policy, school districts across the nation have reduced the amount of time spent on social studies, creative subjects and science by over 40%. This occurs because most teachers feel pressured and responsible for increasing their students’ scores on these standardized exams, and they find the most efficient way to accomplish this goal is by disregarding less valuable or significant information not included in these standardized tests. According to vittana.org, “Since 2002, when the United States added more emphasis to standardized testing, [student education] has dropped in global education rankings.” It is vital that teachers go over a course’s full curriculum for students to receive a proper, valuable education
Another disadvantage to these standardized tests is that they do not show a student’s true abilities. Besides a student’s level of education, variables such as a different testing environment and testing anxiety may harm a student’s test score. Therefore, standardized tests cannot be an accurate or valid representation of a student’s intellectual ability. This makes it impossible to know if a student’s lack of knowledge or their testing strengths determine their ultimate scores.
One of the most considerable downsides to standardized testing is what it can do to a student’s confidence level. Most people assume the higher one scores, the smarter or better they are; however, a score might also depend on the test taker’s strengths. For example, someone who thrives at multiple-choice tests might do poorly on a written portion of the test, and vice versa or someone who excels in the English portion might perform poorly on the exam’s math portion. Students who do not perform up to their expectations can be hard on themselves and doubt their ability to obtain and maintain knowledge. A student should base their success on their comprehension of the material taught in the classroom rather than a simple, standardized test score, which has little value.
It is easy to see standardized testing comes with a variety of disadvantages. A student’s success should not be defined or determined by a score, but rather by knowing they have gained valuable knowledge in the classroom setting. The benefits of standardized testing outweighed the disadvantages.