By the time students graduate from high school they are required to know certain basic skills. One method that schools use to measure students performances are standardized tests. These tests are arbitrary snapshots that evaluate the skills and abilities of today’s students as well as a school’s program based on the same set of criteria.
Due to numerous pros and cons of testing, the education world appears to be divided on standardized tests and its effectiveness.
In the U.S., exams have become the single most important indicator to determine school achievement. Teachers and administrators feel enormous pressure to ensure that test scores go up. To achieve this goal, methods of teaching have conformed to teach only what is covered on the test, creating a tense environment for both the teachers and the students.
Senior Editor Clara Hemphill of New School New York City Affairs reported that teachers and students are exhausted with standardized tests. They have drained the enjoyment from the classroom, while pushing teachers to replace creativity and imagination with rigidly timid and defensive lessons.
The U.S education system shouldn’t be one-dimensional. According to Newsweek, the U.S education system is in a creativity crisis. Laura Sergeant Richardson, of The Atlantic stated, “The European Union declared 2009 as the Year of Creativity, and Chinese faculty actually laughed when they found out the U.S. education trends were in “standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing.”
Joanna Marasco, Ph.D., assistant professor of education at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, argues that restricting the creativity curriculum is just the tip of the iceberg, testing segregates children, without demonstrating how well-educated they are.
While there is specific outrage in academia regarding standardized testing, many agree that some type of assessment is needed to measure if children are learning the required material. According to experts, Americans embrace tests because they are entranced with objectivity. Standardized tests demonstrate how much students are learning, while allowing the information to become public knowledge. States such as New York and Los Angeles are forging ahead with standardized test intended to grade teachers as well as students.
Loren Crabtree, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, stated, “None of us are happy with multiple-choice exams, however, it’s imperative to provide this information so that students and parents can be better prepared for college.”