The Pass Fail System of Standardized Tests

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The Pass Fail System of Standardized Tests

Standardized tests have historically been used as measures of how

students compare with each other or how much of a particular curriculum they

have learned. Increasingly, standardized tests are being used to make major

decisions about students, such as grade promotion or high school graduation,

and schools. More and more often, they also are intended to shape the curriculum

and instruction. Students across America have had to repeat classes because of

the way standardized tests are used to pass or fail students. Students have had

to rely on just one test to pass them for the whole semester (FairTest). Although

the tests require students to retain information until the end of the semester, I

believe it is wrong to allow just a single test to decide whether an entire

semester’s work will be rewarded will the credit that may have been well earned.

Even general standardized tests such as the SAT, which almost every high

school student has taken, are not fair to students who may come from a poor

educational background (Standardized Minds). Students are at a disadvantage if

they have test taking anxiety, a condition that many students suffer from. If a

student is having a bad day or going through a rough time on a test day, this

may also determine their entire semester’s work. Standardized tests are often

based on one topic, giving the student little room to express their strong points.

Tests are called "high-stakes" when they used to make major decisions

about a student, such as high school graduation or grade promotion. Tests are

called "standardized" when all students answer the same questions under similar

conditions and their responses are scored in the same way. Research has shown

that high-stakes testing causes damage to individual students and education. It

is not a reasonable method for improving schools. Test-taking anxiety is common

among high school and college students. The anxiety can be quite stressful and

sometimes weakening, both personally and academically. It is a condition that

thousands of students suffer from and it is something that they cannot help or

overcome by the time of a test. Students who suffer from this often get very

panicked by exams, and most of the time they draw a blank during a test, even

though they know the material...

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...n a test score. High-stakes

testing punishes students, and often teachers, for things they cannot control. It

drives students and teachers away from learning, and at times from school

(FairTest). Assessments of educational strengths and weaknesses can be useful

at the individual, classroom, school or district levels. However, information the needs

to be sufficiently timely, accurate, meaningful, detailed and comprehensive for

the kind of diagnosis being made. Even outstanding students with high grade

point averages are highly capable of failing a final exam due to anxieties and

other conditions that almost every student experiences. Although standardized

tests will still be given to students everywhere, the pass fail system must stop.

There are alternatives that may be taken to give every student a fair chance

while still keeping the effectiveness of the tests. One possibility could be to make

the final exam a large part of the student’s grade but not a determinant of

whether the student passes or fails. A student who understands and learned the

material over the entire semester should not have to repeat a course just

because of one bad test result.
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