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Standardized Testing as a Form of Competition in The Education System

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It is true that standardized testing is commonly used in most schools and other institutions of learning to compare the performance of students. This is a scenario where similar tests are administered to the students and the answers or responses given by the students are graded using a similar manner. It is in these tests that the examinees are required to answer similar questions which can either be multiple choice questions or other questions which are in true or false for,. The performance of the examinees is subjected to a form of comparison which is taken to be relative in one way or the other.

Despite the fact that this comparison is considered to be an effective in institutions of learning, this is not an appropriate manner in which the knowledge of the students should be measured. It is true that bias is avoided in the comparison process where standardized test are used but this is not all that is required to accurate determine the knowledge of a student in a learning environment. It does not sound well when it is indicated that a lot of billions are being used to administer standardized tests in institutions while the same tests are not the appropriate tools that should not be used to test for the knowledge levels of the students (Phelps).

Without considering the fact that standardized tests have for long been used in the past, it is important that it is understood that this is unreliable when used to give the final decision about the performance of a student. Even if the tests administered to assess the performance of students within the same learning environment and location, this still remains to be unreliable manner in which the comparison is done.

Standardized testing, when used to assess the performance of a student, is not appropriate due to the fact that it only focuses on the overall proficiency of the student during the time of the tests. It only tests for the ability of the student to respond to the specific questions indicated in the test (Wright, 2013). The ability to answer these questions is not a surety that the student is knowledgeable in all other aspects. It might happen that the questions involved in the test are what whether student studied for the purpose of passing the test. It is for this reason that standardized tests should not be used to rank the students based on their knowledge levels.

Another reason as to why standardized testing is not good is because it hinders creative thinking among the students. The answers in a standardized test are always locked and the student has just the option of selecting the right answer from the list that is given (Wright). This does not involve the mind of the student making it possible for the student to relax and not to think more about what the question is asking. Creative thinking is an important aspect in learning and this is why standardized testing should be abolished as it is seen to kill it.

Students end up knowing what they expect in such tests and this makes them to remain dull in a way as they do not work hard to read more outside what they expect in the exams. It is become worse when a student is not sure about the answers to the question being asked making them to select the answers at random. It might happen that a student who does not know anything scores the highest in this test through guess work. Ranking is based on performance and this will not be a sure way that will prove that such a student is the brightest of all in that class because the high marks was out of guess work.

In cases where the standardized tests make use of true or false answers, this has long-time negative impact on the society. Learners, mostly the youths, are made to understand that there only two options in every situation they face in life. This affects their lives in a negative manner when they are faced with hard situations where critical thinking is greatly required. This creates a habit in life which makes them think that if something is hard for them, the other option is just letting go the whole thinking without thinking of other options which can help solve the case at hand.

This form of testing should be abolished because it only tests for a single day and this is not sufficient to assess what the student has learnt during the whole semester or year. It is required that the assessment should be a comprehensive one to help indicate the level of understanding of the student considering the whole course work and other learning activities that were involved in. Standardized testing narrows the scope that is covered in during examinations where a lot of sections are left untested (Phelps).

Another reason as to why standardized testing should be abolished is the fact that it ends up putting a lot of pressure on the mentors. It is after the results of a standardized test are published that schools in a given region are ranked based on performance. Teachers will always be happy being associated with high performing schools and this will make them to only teach the students what is in the test to make sure that they pass. Others will do this deliberately for the sake of not losing their job opportunities due to poor performance of the students. All this depletes the high value of the education standards in a region making it a matter of passing exams and not learning all that is required.

It is also true that standardized testing creates a mindset that is grade-centered. This means that learners and other stakeholders are made to understand that examinations are meant to produce good grades and nothing more. This does not matter the process that the student used to pass the examinations by high grades are an indication that the student is knowledgeable than others. This has since resulted into a number of cheating cases during examinations as the students try to get good grades than their colleagues.

It is true that competition in an education system is very health to some extent, but it is also true that this has some negative effects in the long run. Anxiety is a common thing during tests when a student aspires to score high than others just to prove that they are more learned than them. It becomes worse when such as student ends up scoring low and defeated by colleagues. Chances are high that such a student will develop symptoms of distress which are at time so strong to affect the performance of the individual. A good performer might end up becoming discouraged due to poor performance in a single standardized test and introducing lifetime effects on their subsequent performance (Kellaghan , Madaus & Airasian). The single poor performance might be due to some reasons but the student will find it hard accepting the reality after the low grades, below what everybody else could expect them to score. There should be changes in the education sector where standardized testing should not be used to assess the performance of students as it limits the scope of the overall testing which has led to creation of a lazy generation.

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Standardized Testing as a Form of Competition in The Education System. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from
“Standardized Testing as a Form of Competition in The Education System.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
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