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The Effects of Standardized Testing

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The Effects of Standardized Testing

What is the measure of a man? According to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) a man or student rather can be measured by the scores on their yearly standardized tests (Scogin, Kruger, Jekkals, & Steinfeldt, 2017). These tests were created to provide instructional support and understanding but since then have been corrupted into something else entirely. Standardized testing has added pressure to schools, teachers and students and instilled in them all a level of stress and pressure in order to be the very best at whatever means necessary (Kinniburgh & Shaw, 2009). Standardized testing is the reason why educators have changed the way that they teach, forced them to teach mathematics and reading over other equally important subjects, and has even evolved the way that students and teachers are valued.

Due to increased pressure from the NCLB educators are being forced to change their teaching styles and do anything necessary to raise test scores. The constant pressure to succeed has led educators to create simplified curriculums that rely heavily on rote memorization and limits free thinking and spontaneity (Miner, 2000). The ability to adjust curriculum as needed based upon the class is a thing of the past. The need to have high test scores to increase and maintain school funding has led not only a decrease in experiential-type learning but a fear of implementing it altogether (Scogin, Kruger, Jekkals, & Steinfeldt, 2017). Outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and music are becoming a thing of the past. Classrooms and curriculums are being designed to create higher test scores and not to encourage higher learning (Wiliam, 2010). Test scores become the ruling status, not college aspirations and with curriculums being altered so severely there are sacrifices being made everywhere.

Teachers are being encouraged to teach to the test and are focusing solely on reading and mathematics while electives and sciences are being underutilized and devalued. The NCLB places value and importance on reading and mathematics stating that sciences can be learned through such, however the testing for sciences are miniscule in comparison (Kinniburgh & Shaw, 2009). The testing for sciences tend to come in the form of mathematics, or reading comprehension about science. School funding is based upon test results in mathematics and reading so emphasis in every class focuses on success in those subjects (Aydeniz & Southerland, 2012). Science classes turn into reading about science classes and hands on learning is discouraged (Kinniburgh & Shaw, 2009). Field trips and nature walks are slowly becoming things of the past. No matter how hard one tries, with changes in learning, comes changes in perception.

Society is evolving into basing others values on their intellectual skills rather than a combination of physical, perceptual and emotional skills. Achievement and acceptance is becoming based off of what is known as a literate workforce (Kearns, 2007). This literate workforce starts in childhood within standardized testing. Through these tests children are being taught that their ideas and opinions do not matter and that they are being solely judged on intelligence (Kearns, 2007). Where it was once acceptable and praised to have a trade and to excel at that trade, society now looks at one's intelligence level and the higher their intelligence level the more valuable they are (Goslin & Glass, 1967). When children are forced to base their success off of test scores, it seems only natural that they would begin to base others achievements off intellect versus creativity. Teachers become simple tools, a means to an end really, rather than educators (Kearns, 2007). Where once teachers were revered for their hands on approach and spontaneity, now they are simply a means to an end. They are being used to help create the statistic rather than foster imagination and creativity within their students (Marso & Pigge, 1999). Slowly but surely humanity is taking the human out of the being.

Standardized testing is slowly causing educators to simply teach rather than educate, it is eliminating subjects that it deems invaluable to society and creating a new standard in which students and teachers are to be placed. The NCLB has put added pressure on teachers and schools to provide the highest test scores possible and they have done this through the threat of funding loss (Rutkowsky, 2001).

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