Standardized Testing

Standardized Tests are a fact of life for teachers and students everywhere and they have been since the mid-1800’s. While present before, they only became as prominent in school after the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Many students will tell you the tests are unfair, and many teachers will agree.

Teresa Schuster is a Special Education Preschool Teacher at Eaton Elementary. Before she had the Preschool class, she taught the CDC class at North Middle School, and she has five children of her own who have and are going through these standardized tests.

“I think [standardized tests] should be a part of how we assess students, but not the main part,” said Schuster.

Mark Weeks is one of the assistant Principals of Lenoir City High School. He sometimes helps administer the tests and regularly interacts with students and teachers who take and administer them respectively.

“I think we need to continue to limit the amount of testing we do. I think it is important that we measure how much you got from the course. I also think standardized is important so that everyone across the state is tested the same. I also think that we need to do our best to make teachers aware of what the test is going to look like, the format, and all the curriculum that is on it so they can prepare you guys in the best way,” said Weeks.

One thing people who are in support of testing say is that having a single test for everyone makes things fair. Schuster has a different opinion on that, however.

“There are students who don’t perform well on [tests] or that learn differently and it is not fair to them for that to be the only way they are assessed,” said Schuster.

Some of the best arguments against standardized testing is that, while it was enacted as a way to test how much students improve through the year, it isn’t a fair way to do this.

For example, a student with special needs may not improve much in the way of test scores no matter how much they learned and improved over the year. In a similar fashion, a student who makes a vast improvement may not have actually learned the material or a student who makes a good score in the beginning may not show improvement at all even though they grasp the concepts better.

“I think there are a couple tests that we have not collected enough data to know that for sure [if they are fair], but the design of them is meant to be as fair as possible. Tests are supposed to be vetted before they are administered,” said Weeks.

Recently, President Obama proposed a cut in standardized testing. Obama wants students to spend no more than two percent of class time taking tests. This has sparked major debate among people as to whether it is a good idea or not.

“I think there has been a step in the right direction with eliminating the testing in lower grades, eliminating the Plan test which we should be able to get data from the other exams to help with ACT Prep. I think this going one to one next year will help to streamline the class interruption that is taking place,” said Weeks.