Pros and Cons of Standardized Tests – Part One (2023)

"The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal and meaningful opportunity to receive a quality education and, at a minimum, gain proficiency in demanding state academic performance standards and state academic assessments."

No Child Left Behind Act

Standardized testing is an integral part of American education. WithRoots go back to the 19th centurythcentury, standardized tests were used nationwide in the 1980s.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated annual testing in all 50 states and ramped up the use of the tests. From elementary school through college and university admissions, standardized tests are the “gold standard” for student assessment nationwide. However, it has recently come under serious scrutiny.

Supporters of standardized tests make convincing arguments. For example, the tests provide an objective method of assessing educational progress.

"What better way to prove that you've learned something than to perform a task based on that learning." That's the theory behind performance-based assessment, which asks students to... solve a problem or complete a task by applying what they've learned throughout the school year.”Notes Funderstanding, "Fans of this type of assessment say it's much closer to student assessment in the 'real world' and is also a great way to encourage a sense of innovation and problem-solving that's lost in the land of standardized tests." "

Critics of these tests point to numerous objections, such as the unfair advantage of standardized tests on children who are naturally good at passing tests. Students who struggle in this area are automatically at a disadvantage. Additionally, these assessments may not provide a reliable measure of student progress.

There is no doubt that standardized testing, with its advantages and disadvantages, is ingrained in modern American education. This article will examine standardized testing as a whole and address just a few of the many arguments for standardized testing.

(Video) Standardized Testing: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Standardized testing defined

Standardized tests are a general method of testing students to collect data and assess academic progress. Accordingly The Glossary of Education Reform, "A standardized test is any type of test in which (1) all test-takers are required to answer the same questions or a selection of questions from a common set of questions in the same way, and (2) in a "standard" or consistent way that it allows the relative performance of individual students or groups of students to be compared.”

In general, the term "standardized test" refers to large-scale tests administered within the education system. These tests are aimed at large groups of students and often use multiple choice and true-false formats. Standardized tests are not comprehensive, nor are they designed to be. Instead, they are used to offer insights and data.

Education post notes, “Standardized testing is a spotlight that helps educational leaders see the effect schools are having on students. With this information, they can make changes to meet student needs. Like any spotlight, state exams cannot shed light on the whole scene, but they can shed light on some trouble spots and positive signs on the road to better education.”

Advantages of standardized tests

1. It's uniform

Education policymakers cite a variety of reasons in favor of large-scale standardized testing. An advantage is that the tests are consistent; All students have the same opportunities as the tests are the same everywhere.

"Standardized tests are carefully constructed tests that demonstrate a consistent process in evaluating, managing, and interpreting test results." gives honest pros and cons. "All students receive the same tests and are graded consistently and consistently so that the results of each test can be compared as a standard of achievement."

The fact that the tests are standardized for all participating students provides a sense of fairness and accountability.

2. It allows for comparison and accountability

Because standardized tests are just that—standard—they can provide some level of statistical comparison and accountability across districts and regions. Despite any perceived (or actual) shortcomings of the tests, the fact is that their consistency offers the same advantages and disadvantages from community to community. This enables performance and data comparisons. explained, "The information provided by a standardized test allows parents to see, through a percentile rating, how their children are performing compared to national standards... These tests rate each student in the same way, meaning that a particular education." Framework conditions are guaranteed in every school.”

(Video) Should we get rid of standardized testing? - Arlo Kempf

Standardized tests provide a basis for assessment and help assess school standards. Notes from ThoughtCothat a major benefit of standardized testing is thatEducators are responsible for teaching students the required material. As test scores become public records, teachers and schools who appear to be failing their students can be reviewed and held accountable.

Standardized tests can be a useful tool and provide clear data across the country. Properly analyzed, this is a clear advantage for standardized tests.

3. It records individual progress

Standardized testing can also help standardize the education of individual students.” suggests Spark Admissions. “In addition to comparing students to each other or identifying problem schools or districts, standardized tests can also illustrate student progress over time. Taking the same or similar tests over the years can allow students to show measurable improvements.”

Standardized tests are fairly common for most students. According to a comprehensive studyAdministered by the Council of the Great City Schools, students completed an average of 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-school and 12th grade. This results in numerous individualized data to map the progress of each student throughout their school years.

Standardized tests can also be used to assess whether a student is eligible to advance to the next grade. While it is fairly common for students to move on to the next grade with their peers rather than being held back, this is a heavily debated practice. Teachers and parents can use standardized test scores to determine whether or not a child should be restrained.

VitaEducationnotes this as a professional, "Government-mandated standardized testing helps discourage 'climbing the ladder,' the practice of allowing students to advance from grade to grade, whether or not they have met the academic standards of their grade level.A December 2004 paper from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Researchfound that Florida's 2002 initiative to end social promotion retained students who failed standardized end-of-year tests and improved those students' scores by 9% in math and 4% in reading after one year."

Standardized tests can provide teachers, parents and the students themselves with a valuable and personalized picture of each child's skills and knowledge.

4. It includes educational options

Because the tests are national, they may include educational options. There are several alternatives to public education. Time4Learning offersa brief insight into other educational opportunities, including homeschooling and private schools.

(Video) Pros and Cons of standardized tests

Standardized tests can be a valuable tool for parents, teachers, and students outside of the public school platform. Below is an overview of standardized tests in the homeschool and private school sector:

home education

For example, homeschooled children have the opportunity to test their knowledge and skills with other students nationwide.

Standardized tests appeal to many home educators who want to help their children stay "up to date" or at a level appropriate for their grade level. Standardized tests can provide an objective look at how these children are performing on the national average. Additionally, the tests can provide homeschooling families with some level of protection and validation of their educational choices.

Die Homeschool Legal Defense Association offers an excellent explanationthe advantages and disadvantages of standardized tests for homeschooled students. They note these specific “pros”:

  • It is the most objective form of academic evaluation.

  • It is recognized by academic institutions. When your child returns to traditional school after homeschooling, some recognized test scores can make the process easier.

  • If you need or want to know what grade your child is in, these tests can be more helpful than subject-specific placement tests.

    (Video) Standardized Testing: Pros and Cons

Quote taken from "Introduction to standardized testing.

private training

Standardized tests in private schools can be a somewhat complex explained, “Regulations for private schools vary greatly from state to state. Some states, like South Dakota, require private schools to use the same tests used in the public system. Others, like Wisconsin, offer the public school tests as an option for private schools. There are also states like South Carolina that have no politics at all. Finally, states like California specifically prohibit the use of public testing resources by private schools.”

While many private schools do not use standardized tests, some do, either voluntarily or by law. Generally, private schools do not publish test score data, which is a difference between their testing protocol and that of public schools. However, test scores can offer parents, students, and teachers of private schools many of the same benefits as public schools.

In summary, standardized tests allow for assessment and assessment that goes beyond the traditional classroom. This provides an equal opportunity for all educational backgrounds to enjoy the same testing benefits and data interpretation.

Benefits summarized

Standardized testing is a much-discussed topic, with many aspects to consider. This article has explored a number of stated benefits of this scoring method:

  • It's uniform
  • It allows comparisons and responsibilities
  • It records individual progress
  • It includes educational opportunities

While there are many advocates of standardized testing, many do not share the same positive views. Stay tuned for the second half of this discussion! Our follow-up article will explore what critics have to say about the downsides of standardized testing.

“Standardized tests don't care if you're white or black, short or tall, or how quickly you learned the course material. At the end of the day, it's all about knowing what you need to know. It cannot be cheated, twisted or negotiated.”

(Video) Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing

Steven Crowder

Did you know this is the first in a series on the pros and cons of testing?Read part 2 here.


Pros and Cons of Standardized Tests – Part One? ›

PRO: They help teachers to identify areas for improvement. CON: Standardized tests cause stress and anxiety for children. PRO: They help keep schools accountable to policymakers. CON: Teachers 'teach to the test' which leads to the lower-quality rote learning method of teaching.

What are the pros and cons of standardized testing? ›

PRO: They help teachers to identify areas for improvement. CON: Standardized tests cause stress and anxiety for children. PRO: They help keep schools accountable to policymakers. CON: Teachers 'teach to the test' which leads to the lower-quality rote learning method of teaching.

What is 1 one of the advantages of standardized testing? ›

Standardized exams can show student improvement over time by taking the same tests over time. In addition, student test scores can also be easily compared to each other to show changes in progress. Ensure that all educational stakeholders are held accountable.

How does standardized test affect students? ›

Standardized testing inevitably impacts students' lives and experiences in many ways. Testing can help students feel empowered and do their best. It can also cause stress, anxiety, and competition. Teachers can help make tests a more positive experience by downplaying the stressful elements.

Do standardized tests cause stress? ›

Stress and its effect on the brain might be one reason that students from low-income neighborhoods tend to fare worse on high-stakes tests. Children are affected by standardized testing, with some seeing their cortisol levels spike on testing days, and others seeing it drop, which might lead them to disengage.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of standardization? ›

A second advantage is that it can reduce costs by enabling all hotels in a chain to take advantage of economies of scale and negotiate lower prices from suppliers. The main disadvantage to standardization is that it reduces the flexibility of a chain to cater for regional tastes and expectations.

Are standardized tests effective? ›

Key Takeaways. Standardized tests don't accurately measure student learning and growth. Unlike standardized tests, performance-based assessment allows students to choose how they show learning. Performance-based assessment is equitable, accurate, and engaging for students and teachers.

What are four advantages of standardization? ›

Rationalize different varieties of products. Decrease the volume of products in the store and also the manufacturer cost. Improve the management and design. Speed up the management of orders.

Do standardized tests improve student performance? ›

93% of studies have found student testing, including the use of large-scale and high-stakes standardized tests, to have a "positive effect" on student achievement, according to a peer-reviewed, 100-year analysis of testing research completed in 2011 by testing scholar Richard P. Phelps.

How does standardized testing affect students mentally? ›

This can cause many mental issues as students are studying for long periods of time and stressing about a test. According to, “Standardized testing causes headaches, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, stress and attendance issues”. Standardized testing is also, in some cases, ineffective.

Should students have homework pros and cons? ›

The pros and cons of homework
  • Teachers And Students Working Together. ...
  • Brings Families Closer Together. ...
  • Teaches The Child How To Be Responsible. ...
  • The Child Needs Relaxation Time. ...
  • Decrease In Socialization. ...
  • Increase In Conflicts Between Parent And Child.

What are the three main purposes of standardized testing? ›

The main purposes for standardized testing are to compare student achievement, to serve as an accountability measurement for teachers/schools/school districts, and to provide the necessary information for data-driven instruction.

Do tests really help students learn? ›

Tests can be especially beneficial if they are given frequently and provide near-immediate feedback to help students improve. This retrieval practice can be as simple as asking students to write down two to four facts from the prior day or giving them a brief quiz on a previous class lesson.

What is the importance of standardized? ›

Standardization brings innovation and spreads knowledge

Standardization also brings innovation, first because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process and, second, because it makes it easier to disseminate groundbreaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques.

How does standardized testing affect students confidence? ›

These students become too harsh on themselves and develop low self-esteem. Standardized tests also affect motivation in the classroom. Some students may become completely disengaged as they know that test scores can't be more valuable than actual comprehension of the material.

What are the negative effects of standardized testing on students with disabilities? ›

When students with disabilities struggle with standardized testing, they may struggle with their self-esteem and question their abilities. The risk of dropping out of school goes up, especially if they can't pass a high-stakes test that is required for them to move on to the next grade level.

What affects standardized test scores? ›

Students can prepare for and take the test several times to attain their desired score. Therefore, educational achievement levels are a factor influencing SAT scores. Other factors that scholars and researchers have advanced include socioeconomic, cultural and psychological.

Why do teachers not like standardized testing? ›

Standardized test scores are often tied to important outcomes, such as graduation and school funding. Such high-stakes testing can place undue stress on students and affect their performance. Standardized tests fail to account for students who learn and demonstrate academic proficiency in different ways.

Why is standardized testing flawed? ›

Standardized tests don't provide any feedback on how to perform better. The results aren't even given back to the teachers and students until months later, and there are no instructions provided by test companies on how to improve these test scores. 4. Standardized tests don't value creativity.

What is the fear of standardized testing? ›

Symptoms of Test Anxiety

Mental: Lack of concentration, negative thoughts, comparing yourself to others, catastrophizing (thinking the worst) Emotional: Anger, helplessness, disappointment, fear, dread.

What is not a benefit of standardization? ›

Freezing design is not an advantage of standardization because it slows the production of goods.

What are the effects of standardization? ›

The positive effect of standardization is that it can help weed out incompatible technologies in the market that slow the growth of technology. There will be an increased uptake of standardized technology, which will spur the growth of the technology industry.

What are the main advantages of the standard? ›

Standards provide clarity about the properties of a product and are considered to be clear and recognized rules of technology. In contracts, reference to standards increases legal certainty.

Do standardized tests still matter? ›

Yes, standardized tests still matter. For students applying to academically selective colleges in the US, they should still take and submit their ACT or SAT scores.

When did standardized testing become an issue? ›

Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states.

Do standardized tests reflect intelligence? ›

Standardized tests are made to measure a student's intelligence; however, a person's intelligence should not be determined by how well they can score on a test. There are many factors that can go into a negative test score, one of the main ones being testing anxiety.

What are the benefits of standardization in education? ›

Benefits and Challenges of Standardization

Providing a common curriculum increases the likelihood that students will be exposed to the same information. Hence, they should walk away with the same learning. Curriculum is delivered by an instructor whose presentation of that information is unique.

What are the 4 types of standardization? ›

There are at least four levels of standardization: compatibility, interchangeability, commonality and reference. These standardization processes create compatibility, similarity, measurement, and symbol standards.

Why are grades better than standardized tests? ›

Students earn grades based on a wide range of assessments, activities, and behaviors – quizzes, class participation, oral and written reports, group assignments, homework, and in-class work. Standardized tests, on the other hand, are not assigned on such a multifaceted range of factors.

Do standardized tests affect college? ›

SAT scores help colleges compare students from different high schools. Your scores show your strengths and readiness for college work. But remember standardized test scores are just one part of your college application, along with grades, course rigor, and recommendations.

Does homework improve standardized test scores? ›

Practice assignments do improve scores on class tests at all grade levels. A little amount of homework may help elementary school students build study habits. Homework for junior high students appears to reach the point of diminishing returns after about 90 minutes a night.

What do parents think about standardized testing? ›

The poll figures, which were culled from a 20-minute online survey of more than 1,000 parents, show that 44 percent of parents believe standardized tests are fair, compared with 38 percent who said they are not and 18 percent who are unsure.

How many students are stressed of standardized tests? ›

In 2020, the study showed that 87% of the students feel that standardized tests amplify their stress. Why is it that standardized testing is more stressful than regular tests?

How many students get stressed from tests? ›

Test anxiety is a common occurrence in classrooms, affecting the performance of students from kindergarten through college, as well as adults who must take job- related exams. Estimates are that between 40 and 60% of students have significant test anxiety that interferes with their performing up to their capability.

Who invented homework 😡? ›

Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is often credited with having invented homework in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources.

Are students happier with less homework? ›

By assigning less homework, you'll likely find that students will love learning, get more sleep, enjoy themselves more with outside activities, be less overworked, and have more time to spend with family.

Why are standardized tests criticized? ›

Some critics believe that standardized tests don't always accurate reflect what a student has learned. Many critics are also concerned about bias in test taking.

Do standardized tests predict college success? ›

Using SAT scores in conjunction with HSGPA is the most powerful way to predict future academic performance. On average, SAT scores add 15% more predictive power above grades alone for understanding how students will perform in college.

What are 3 benefits of homework? ›

Homework teaches students how to problem solve. Homework gives student another opportunity to review class material. Homework gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school. Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.

Why standardized testing is unfair for poor students? ›

For decades, critics have complained that many standardized tests are unfair because the questions require a set of knowledge and skills more likely to be possessed by children from privileged backgrounds''(p.

Why do students struggle with tests? ›

Test anxiety may be caused by a number of factors such as poor test performance in the past, lack of confidence, feelings of extreme pressure or fear of failure, nervousness about having to perform or a number of other problems.

Do standardized tests measure intelligence? ›

Standardized tests are made to measure a student's intelligence; however, a person's intelligence should not be determined by how well they can score on a test. There are many factors that can go into a negative test score, one of the main ones being testing anxiety.

Why grades are better than standardized tests? ›

Students earn grades based on a wide range of assessments, activities, and behaviors – quizzes, class participation, oral and written reports, group assignments, homework, and in-class work. Standardized tests, on the other hand, are not assigned on such a multifaceted range of factors.

Why do colleges care about standardized testing? ›

SAT scores help colleges compare students from different high schools. Your scores show your strengths and readiness for college work. But remember standardized test scores are just one part of your college application, along with grades, course rigor, and recommendations.


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