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Explaining The Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing In All Schools (Essay Sample)

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Standardized tests in schools trace their origin to the American education system back in the mid-1800s. Enactment of the ‘No Child Left Behind Act' (NCLB) in 2002 led to skyrocketing use in schools countrywide for the act mandated their use in all 50 states across the USA (Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America?

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Explain the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing In All Schools Author's Name: Institutional Affiliation: Explain the Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing In All Schools Standardized tests in schools trace their origin to the American education system back in the mid-1800s. Enactment of the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ (NCLB) in 2002 led to skyrocketing use in schools countrywide for the act mandated their use in all 50 states across the USA (Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America?, 2014). Since then, USA students slipped from 18th in Math globally to 31st in 2009, with similar declines recorded in sciences and no change at all in reading. Pervasive use of these standardized test, teacher quality, tenure policies and rising poverty have been the main causes of the declining academic standards not only in the USA, but across the globe. According to W. James Popham, standardized tests refer to any test administered, scored, and read in a standard, preset manner (Costaras & Liss, 2013, p. 5). Automated test scoring machines quickly grade such test for they often have multiple-choice answers. Some, on the other hand, incorporate open-ended questions which require human grading which is usually expensive, although such written work may soon be graded by use of computer software being developed by education experts. Such tests are beneficial, according to proponents, since they provide an objective and fair means for grading all students across the board (Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing, 2013, p. 1). Since the administration of such tests takes place across a whole nation or educational region, students’ grading is undertaken based on the same criterion. Consequently, students advance to the next level after undergoing a standardized method of determining who advances and who does not. Standardized tests ensure teachers and schools accountability to tax payers (Costaras & Liss, 2013, p. 10). Annually, the education sector receives a substantial percentage of the budgetary allocations in any state, nation or economy. Therefore, through the administration of standardized tests, schools, and teachers alike, put in much effort to ensure they utilize every penny, and appropriately at that. As a result, this motivates teachers in teaching to their level best and delivering the best knowledge available to avoid closure of the schools they teach, or even sacking (Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America?, 2014). The culmination of all this is a race to the top among students. The fear of failing in school instilled by teachers in them warrants students to work to their level best to avoid the embarrassment of being labelled a failure on failing to attain passing grades (Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing, 2013, p. 1). Globally, the number of graduates coming out of school with honors or first class graduation classification has increased due to this phenomenon. On the other hand, the cons of standardized tests start with the resultant sackings of teachers once students fail to perform (Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing, 2013, p. 2). Controversy sparked by the use of various types of these tests only goes to show the opposition standardized tests face. Grading of students in an education system based on the same standard test is both unfair and nonobjective (Costaras & Liss, 2013, p. 25). To begin with, the current formal system of education practiced across the globe aims to develop gentlemen and ladies of consolidated intellect. This implies that students graduating from schools ought to possess knowledge best suited for their career choice later in life. Standardized tests, therefore, subject students with variant abilities to the same form of determining their next step in life. Proponents argue that differing abilities in students warrant non-standardized tests internationally (Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America?, 2014). The use of these tests promotes a narrow curriculum solely designed to prepare students for tests, rather than promote acquiring of knowledge (Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing, 2013, p. 2). Teachers suffer from fear of getting sacked in case their students fail to pass or do not achieve the set target in these tests. In...
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