Teachers and Students Question Need for Standardized Testing

Makena Colihan, Social Media & Public Relations Manager

The use of standardized testing to measure students’ academic achievement in schools has fueled controversy not only for students, but also teachers. Understanding the effects of testing requires an examination of what exactly standardized testing is, which includes its benefits and challenges. Standardized testing is a broad term referring to an assessment that establishes a baseline for student performance on school, district, and state levels. Students start standardized testing at the third grade level. The testing is administered by the state to getdata for teacher and student performances in the classroom. The goal of standardized testing is to compare student scores across different groupings, improve the quality of instruction, and ensure the validity of curriculums. It’s common knowledge that teachers and schools are evaluated based on students’ test scores; however, it is becoming less and less common for teachers to be penalized for their students’ scores. While teachers may not lose pay or lose their jobs based on standardized test scores, teachers absolutely feel pressure from all directions when it comes to testing season. From parents to students to administrators to other teachers, the pressure to have your students show growth on these tests is “borderline unbearable,” despite there being little to no threat of losing your job.

When asked about their opinion of standardized testing, students and teachers had a similar response. A fifth grade teacher in CUSD responded, “Standardized testing is good in theory, and that is about where my positive opinions regarding testing end. I think it is important to hold teachers and curriculum leaders accountable and ensure that students are on track to continue progressing as their education continues. It is also important to break down the data derived from state test scores, and look at the groupings made… Standardized testing has become this high-stakes, high pressure environment for all people involved.”

Even various students at Chandler High School agree. Sarah Gonzales, a junior and AP student, gives her opinion on standardized testing. She believes standardized testing is an inaccurate way to measure students skills and intelligence. Another student, Evan Colihan, agrees, claiming that some students simply aren’t good test takers.

Another fifth grade teacher, Ms. Diane states that standardized testing is neither accurate nor fair. “As stated before, standardized testing fails to take into account all of the outside factors that contribute to the development and demeanor of a child. On the day of the test, a student could have a multitude of factors playing a role in their attitude that could influence them while taking their test… with how much pressure is placed on standardized testing, my focus on a teacher has to switch to appease those that feel this is a proper way to assess students… I concede that this is my first year of teaching, however as a progressive minded teacher, I am hurt as to how much my students have missed out because I had to focus on preparing them for the upcoming test.”

To conclude, these responses force administrators and students to wonder what’s the point of standardized testing.? From the span of February to May the only thing on students and teachers minds is standardized testing. We don’t always get to hear what our teachers true thoughts are on these tests, and it was interesting to see both students and teachers opinions on the subject.