The Importance Of Standardized Testing

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Implemented in 2001, No Child Left Behind increased the prevalence of standardized testing in public schools. The goal of No Child Left Behind was to establish measurable goals for students, and ultimately lead to greater accountability of schools. In order to promote greater accountability, state standardized assessments were implemented in public schools. Student performance on these exams was used as an indicator of how well schools were performing. In today’s education system, standardized testing is used as the primary method for assessing knowledge. However, standardized testing encourages the utilization of shallow processing of information, which ultimately leads to a less thorough understanding of educational material.
The premise
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Students can often receive high grades on low-level exams, by simply memorizing definitions and information. “Verbatim questions require learners to recognize words previously read in a text whereas comprehension questions force learners to use higher order cognitive processes” (As cited in Stiegler-Balfour & Benassi, 2015). No personal connections or deeper thinking has to be done. As a result, students learn that they can ‘get away’ with relying on shallow processing. Students may be able to recall information in the short-term. However, the information they ‘learned’ for the exam will not be encoded into their long-term memory, and ultimately, students will forget the information as soon as the exam is over. Because No Child Left Behind focuses heavily on test performance, students are encouraged to do whatever it takes for them to succeed on standardized exams. As a result, students will gravitate towards learning techniques that previously served them well, such as rote memorization (Bjork & Storm, 2011). Unintentionally, testing that consists of low level questions leads to students missing out on opportunities to learn and instead encourages …show more content…
In additional to doing well on the higher level thinking questions on the exam, these students also did well on the lower level thinking questions (Jensen et al., 2014). This serves as evidence to the fact that being exposed to higher level questions forced students to gain a deeper understanding of the text, and ultimately led to better retention of information and facts. Unfortunately, a large percentage of standardized test focus on asking lower level questions. However, factual recall exams don’t actually promote retention of facts and information (Jensen et al., 2014). As best stated by Jensen “giving factual recall exams does students a disservice.” If the US wants to raise brighter students, its exams need to be restructured in order accurately assess knowledge and promote deeper understanding of

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