State Testing Unnecessary and Biased?

State Testing Unnecessary and Biased?

State Testing Article

Every year, we set aside a month to be tested on the subjects we have been learning about for the entire year, but the tests may not improve learning in the way that we hoped. State-mandated testing should not be continued because of pressure put on teachers and students as well as the inherent cultural bias of tests. 

In 1987, the Ohio state legislature passed a bill that required all students to pass state-mandated tests to graduate. Ohio would then get extra federal funding as long as students tested their students. The test would give grades to school districts. There are many factors that state-mandated testing does not account for and can even result in a lower quality of education.

The state-mandated tests are annual tests that states require to get federal funding. The results of these tests then impact the placement of the student, the results of the teacher, and the overall results given to each district. These tests may be hurting the education of students more than helping. 

There are many negative effects of state testing. In a national survey by ERIC, the Institute of Educational Science, 88 per cent of Maryland teachers reported that they were under  “undue pressure”(ERIC 23). Additionally, 80 percent of North Carolina teachers reportedly spend 20 percent of their time practising end-of-year state tests(ERIC 23). 76 per cent of North Carolina teachers also reported that “teaching was more stressful since the implementation of the North Carolina state-testing program” and 61 percent have stated that students were more anxious as a result of state testing(ERIC 24). Over 70 percent of all teachers interviewed felt pressure from superintendents and principals to raise test scores. Additionally, over 60 percent of teachers report that they don’t have enough time to teach subjects, not in the test, and may “teach in ways that contradict their own ideas or good educational practice”(ERIC 43). The stress put on teachers causes compromises on education and can affect students negatively.

Students are affected by state-mandated testing in different ways. In the article “Effects of Standardized Testing on Students & Teachers: Key Benefits & Challenges”, American University states that “Standardized tests fail to account for students who learn and demonstrate academic proficiency in different ways.” They then explain that “a student who struggles to answer a multiple-choice question about grammar or punctuation may be an excellent writer” The article also explains how the test isn’t fair due to socioeconomic differences within each state. There are many different regions in the state, which have different districts, which have different students, with different lives. There are too many factors to accurately measure how well students are learning with a one size fits all test. With the differences of regions and districts, some districts may get less funding due to low test scores which may result in even poorer results. 

Although tests can be a useful tool for placement of students, the inherent cultural bias in testing can make it difficult for minorities to progress. Cultural bias can also result in lower success for minorities. According to the Leaders Project, “Cultural bias occurs in testing materials when test items assess knowledge or experiences that are specific to a certain culture.” If tests are written to resemble the experiences of a certain group of people, the people who have not experienced the situation may not be able to properly answer the question. Cultural biases in state testing hurt minorities’ test scores, which can impact class placement, which can then impact college acceptance, and could possibly cause someone that’s part of a minority to not get a job. Questions that are culturally biased can cause worse test scores, even for bright students, which can cause lost opportunities. 

State-mandated testing is taking away opportunities for minorities as well as causing unnecessary stress on students and teachers, and should not be continued. n. There are also so many other places where government funding for education should go, which could help the education system.