Do Standardized Tests Properly Measure the Quality of Education?

Kaitlyn Tobin, Contributor

According to, failures in the education system have been blamed on increasing poverty levels, teacher quality, tenure policies, and on the pervasive use of standardized tests. Standardized testing has been used on children across the United States starting in the mid-1800s. While the goal of the tests was not harmful, there has been a strong voice of opposition towards them since the very beginning. Although we have been using standardized tests on children in the U.S. for a very long time, the effectiveness of these tests are questionable. For instance, standardized testing puts a lot of stress on both students and teachers, and it only tests students for one day a year (not showing growth), causing pressure in schools.

First, standardized tests evaluate students on one specific day. Any anxiety, stress, or lack of focus isn’t taken into account, meaning that many students aren’t getting accurate scores to measure their intelligence. Also, the school curriculum is heavily affected by students’ performance on standardized tests, causing them to teach by the tests. This creates a lack of creativity in what is taught and sets a strict standard.

Another reason standardized tests may not be effective is that they don’t measure the growth of a student throughout the year. The tests only evaluate students on individual performance, not including their past work.

Lastly, and maybe the most importantly, standardized tests place large amounts of stress and anxiety on both teachers and students. Teachers have a lot of pressure to prepare their students for these tests in time. According to a National Education Association survey, almost half of all teachers have considered quitting altogether due to the stresses of standardized testing. Also, students are pushed to succeed on these tests, leading to a strong negativity towards testing and learning in general.

However, despite these issues with standardized tests, there are some benefits. For instance, with these tests, schools, districts, and states can easily be compared, helping to improve the education in some areas of the United States. Also, standardized tests establish important standards for education around the country.

In conclusion, standardized tests may be helpful in comparing and setting standards for schools, but they are ineffective in measuring the intelligence and education of individual students. They don’t take external factors and the growth of students into account, and create pressure and anxiety on children. Additionally, teachers and other educators are forced to teach by the tests, creating a boring environment and negativity towards learning. The education system of the United States needs to be adjusted to better benefit the students and educators of our country.