Using high-stakes testing is a great way to hold the school, the district, and the educators accountable for how the students do. This is because the district, school, and educators can compare how their school is doing compared to another school. “If standardized test scores are constantly low for one school district, this shows a problem at a higher level. This means that the students are not being taught subjects in a way that is helping them retain information” (Lombardo, 2015). If this is the case then the educators need to change their methods of teaching to better help their students learn.
They will need to establish new and more effective methods for teaching their students. As educators, you should want your scores to be closely equivalent to other school districts. Since everyone is learning the same information, the scores should be somewhat similar. “It allows for students from different schools and different states to be compared based on their performance on a standardized test” (Lombardo, 2015). So not only can you compare test scores within the state, you can also compare it to different states. High-stakes testing is the only way to compare students within state and out of state.
No other method has been created. Another huge pro of high-stakes testing is that it helps remove bias from grading. High-stake tests, are usually scored by computer. “This means that students are evaluated and scored based solely on their knowledge of the material and no other factor is involved in the evaluation process” (Lombardo, 2015). “High-stake tests are reliable and objective measures of student achievement. Without them, policy makers would have to rely on tests scored by individual schools and teachers who have a vested interest in producing favorable results” (ProCon, 2015).
Since the multiple choice tests are scored by computer there is no chance for a teacher to judge and grade the students based on favoritism, or effort. However, with all of these pros, you know there are cons. Educators are starting to reply on high-stake tests such as standardized tests. They are relying on the test scores to make decisions about their students such as whether they students are gifted, need special education, or if they can move on to the next grade. “However, the playing field for such high-stakes tests may not be level for all students, said psychologists at APA’s 2001 Annual Convention” (Smith, 2015).
There has been concern that the schools are using the test results in inappropriate ways, and that they do not adjust to the diverse student population. Psychologists are saying that these test scores should not be used to make drastic changes in the student’s education. Since the students are diverse, they may not fully understand the material on the test. Researchers at the Consortium on Chicago School Research have found that students who were held back had significantly higher dropout rates and lower achievement than those of similar ability who were promoted (Smith, 2015).
The studies show that the test fail to take the diverse students into consideration when creating the tests. Another con against high-stake testing is the high amount of pressure on elementary students. Since the students feel pressure when taking tests, this can result in anxiety. Students at this young of an age feel that they need to succeed and do well. Then if they do not do well on a test, may suffer from selfesteem issues. “According to Sociology of Education, selfconcept is strongly related to perceived intellectual abilities” (Pearson, 2015).
Another reason why students feel so much pressure is because of the consequences for low scores. If they do badly, then they have a chance to be held back, or be put in a special education classroom. However, these consequences are not just for the students. Schools with low testing scores are at risk of losing state and federal funding. “If scores do not improve within a set amount of time, the school may be forced to submit to government takeover or major restructuring, according to a report from the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement” (Pearson, 2015).
Another issue if test scores are bad, is that teachers lose motivation when teaching their students. This leaves the students with nowhere to go for support and they often become frustrated. People also argue that high-stake testing is an all or nothing approach. This means that students have one shot to do it, and get it right. Students are only able to take the test one time, and the score they have is the one they get. There is no changing the test score, until you retake it. High-stake testing do not take into external factors such as, how students are feeling, if they are tired, preoccupied, or if they have test-anxiety.
High stakes tests are not an ideal evaluation method for all students” (Lombardo, 2015). Another con that educators and others see is that it does not account for the growth of the students over time. ” High stakes tests only evaluate a child once a year, but do not take into account the progress that the child has made” (Lombardo, 2015). Another issue is that creativity is removed from the classroom. Teachers have to teach the material on a certain test. “They must follow a straight forward protocol that mandates specific items be taught so tests can be passed” (Apecses, 2015).
This means they lose individuality when teaching. It has also been proven that standardized testing has not improved student achievement. When looking at the pros and cons of high-stakes testing it is hard to come up with just one opinion. My mind bounces around on whether I should agree with it or disagree. There are several reasons why I should agree with high-stakes testing. A couple of these reasons being that it can help educators make lessons for their students since all students learn different, and that parents are able to see the scores.
Another reason being hat all students are judge on the same material and graded by a computer. Having the test graded by computer takes away bias. However, the cons show me why I should not agree with it. Some of these reasons being that it removes creativity from the classroom, it causes anxiety, it does not show growth of the students overtime, and it does not take external factors into consideration. Before I started to look up all of the pros and cons of highstakes testing, I used to agree with it. I thought it was normal and never knew it had that big of an impact on students.
I thought it just showed teachers what level there students were on, and what they needed help on. I would never have thought about the pressure that it could put on students. Being a student I felt nervous when taking standardized tests, but it never got to the point where I was worrying myself sick over it. I forgot to think that not all students test the same, and some worry more than others. It never came to mind that it could cause children to get anxiety, or develop low self-esteem if they do poorly on a test. I also never took into consideration that it does not take in external factors.
When looking back I knew that high-stakes testing was usually a one-time deal, that never considers external factors, but it never affected my opinion of testing. However, now after learning more about high-stakes testing, and the pros and cons, I have a clearer and more thought out opinion. When looking at the pros and cons they both have great points. Now, I agree against high-stakes testing. The main reason I am against it, is because it does not take in external factors. I know that a child should be prepared for a test, but you never know how they are feeling that day the test is given.
It is also bad for the children who do not do well on test, and they get nervous while taking a test. Another issue with the highstake testing is when it causes student to build themselves up with pressure to succeed. If a student feels so much pressure to do well, then it can cause them to do poorly. Studies show that when students do badly on a test, it can cause them to develop anxiety and low self-esteem, which is something children at a young age should not have to deal with and overcome. I would agree with high-stake testing more if there was a way that students could show their growth.
It would also gain my acceptance if there was a way for the students that have test anxiety to be less nervous during the test. I also wish that the test scores were not as big of a deal for students. If these tests could be given more than once than it would give a better accuracy. This is because if a child was not feeling it that day, was sick, tired, or anything else they can have a second chance. For example, I had to take the ACT multiple times to get the score I needed for the promise scholarship. I am not sure if was due to external factors, but every time I took the test I did better and better.
It would be nice also, if tests would be given twice to see how much or if the student has improved. This would show if they were trying, paying attention in class, and it would give them a chance to possibly increase their school. So, as of now my opinion will stand against high-stakes testing due to the amount of pressure and lack of growth it shows for their students. If studies can prove that high-stake testing is positive, than maybe my opinion will change in the future. Then again it may change, once I see how my students in the future do on high-stakes testing.