Do standardized tests really improve the quality of public education? For years they have been used to judge schools' academic performance and assess the needs of students. No longer can illiterates be graduated from high school. No longer can teachers pass a student from one grade to another without having taught that student anything (Spellings). While these advances are beneficial, standardized exams often hurt already disadvantaged schools, promote states to lower their standards of education, and cause schools to focus more on the exams themselves rather than on their students' actual learning (Karp).
One of the major foundations of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, a national law requiring public schools to distribute standardized tests at least once a year, is that schools may be sanctioned by the federal government as a result of poor test grades. Obviously, this threat places an extraordinary amount of stress on schools to do well on their exams and holds teachers and administrators more accountable. However, it also causes teachers to teach the test rather than their curriculum, allowing students to perform better on exams without actually understanding the tested material (Karp). Test-teaching has become so common that students may actually take classes helping them to improve test scores, and whole days of public school are spent teaching kids better and faster ways to eliminate wrong answers (Gallagher). Such usage of classroom time and faculty effort is by no means useful to any child?s education, and its pervasiveness is unacceptable.
Indeed, the pervasiveness of test-teaching is now remarkable. Former president of the National Urban League Hugh Price urges parents to ??make certain your children can pass?a...
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...on Gale. Cedar Park High School Lib., Cedar Park, TX. 11 December 2007 .
Spellings, Margaret. ?Is Standardized Testing the Correct Answer? YES.? ED.gov. 14 October 2005. U.S. Department of Education. 9 December 2007 . Path: Press Room, Fact Sheets, Op-Eds, Op-Eds & Letters to the Editor, "Is Standardized Testing the Correct Answer? YES" appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
?Standardized Tests.? PVCC Assessment Initiative. 20 October 2003. Maricopa Community Colleges. 9 December 2007 . Path: Employees, Assessment Initiative, General Assessment Resources, Standardized/National Exams.
Whitaker, Mark. ?Byline.? Newsweek 2 June 2003: 6. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. Cedar Park High School Lib., Cedar Park, TX. 6 December 2007 .