Why Standardized Tests are Ruining Public Education

Thanks to programs like No Child Left Behind, every state in the Union has its own version of a mandated standardized test. These tests are designed to assess a student’s skills in math, reading and writing. These are basic skills everyone should have once they finish high school. However, standardized tests are ruining public education.

Standardized tests, in general, do not account for children’s different learning styles. Many children are not good at multiple choice questions while others are not good a writing essays in less than a few hours. Children with learning disabilities often perform badly on these exams because the tests do not account for their unique way of grasping information. In reality, there are no standard ways of consuming information, so there shouldn’t be this test that tells students how they should learn.

Standardized tests are ruining public education because students are not taught informative lessons. Instead, they are taught to memorize information for short-term success on an exam. Now, many schools build their curriculum around passing the standardized tests. Others designate an entire month or two to cramming for the exam in order to meet a target set up by their particular state. Thus, students don’t really learn information.

While math, reading and writing skills are essential to life, standardized tests don’t teach other important information such as social studies and history. By the time many students graduate from high school, they don’t know basic American history or information about the government, not even simple things like who was the 16th president or how many senators represent each state. Individuals who are tested to become citizens of the United States often know more about the country than people who grew up here.

Finally, standardized tests do not prepare students for the type of critical thinking skills necessary to enter the workforce or complete college-level assignments. With all of the preparation many students receive for successfully completing the writing section of standardized tests, you would think that, by the time they get to college, they would be expert writers. Unfortunately, many of these students can barely construct a thesis statement and an essay in the basic five-paragraph format. When presented with a piece of literature, they can’t even pick out the pertinent points and themes presented. This proves that the writing sections of standardized tests do not help students become better writers.

There is nothing standard about standardized tests. They are ruining public education because students are no longer taught to think about the lessons received in school. Teachers can convey important information that can help their students beyond high school. Children who learn in unique ways are left behind or they learn how to get by in school. Hopefully, schools will either reconstruct or relinquish standardized tests because of the damage they are doing to public education in America.