Countries that have embraced standardized tests use the results obtained to make some very important decisions that affect the life of a student. Decisions like whether or not a student is qualified to join institutions of higher learning affect the self-esteem of an individual and their place in the society. Those who do not perform very well are considered as failures in the society. This is unfair to them because what they have been learning throughout their school life has been judged by just one test. If the overall performance of an individual in their learning life was looked at in making such a decision, then there would be fairness. Standardized test should, therefore, not be taken.
In order for schools to get federal funding, they must meet some set performance standards. This performance is based on a standardized test that is administered. The school administration, therefore, becomes very concerned with the performance of the students and even forgets to lay emphasis on the knowledge the students are gaining. Teachers are given curriculum with an emphasis laid on the topics that the test will cover. They are left with no choice but to adjust their work plan so that they can cover the ‘important’ topics first. They may end up not covering some work in class. This prepares students for specific areas of standard test and leads to students being disadvantaged because of not getting all information needed. Non-standard tests require that the entire syllabus is covered to perform well. Thus, standardized tests tend to ignore some class work.
In addition, standardized tests tend to examine a short-term acquisition of facts, knowledge, and skills, including the skill of the test taking itself. Students will be forced to commit a lot of information to memory through rote method. After cramming for the test, they will end up forgetting most of what they had covered since they had not internalized information. This is ruining our education system because a student will not have much to show after all their learning life. Non-standardized tests, on the other hand, determine the general understanding of an individual, not just the skills of taking the test.
Standardized test requires a very accurate preparation for both the examiners and the students. Much energy and money is spent preparing for the test to attain the desirable results. This money has to come from somewhere. It is focused on just a test, and this is wasteful in some way. In order to meet standards that are required, the spending of this money cannot be avoided, both in the setting of the test and preparation for it in schools. Non-standard tests do not call for such preparation, and therefore, not much energy and money is spent. To avoid all that trouble, standardized test should not be taken.
One of the main objectives of administering any test is to bring out the real difference between learners to show the understanding capability of each student. According to Harris, Smith and Harris, the test should be used to see where a student stands on absolute basis. Standardized test has failed to do this to a great extent (Harris et al. 54). This one time test does not accurately bring out this difference because the performance of an individual in a test is influenced by many factors. Some students may fail the tests not because they are not bright or hardworking, but because of some situations that may arise during the test period. Non- standardized tests work better because the situation that a group of students are in may be considered in setting of the test and in awarding of marks.
A system that lays emphasis on the quality of education that a student gets is recommendable. It is upon the policy makers of a country to realize the disadvantages of the kind of tests that are being administered in our schools and do something to improve them. Students expecting a standard test at the end of their learning just work for the test so as to perform well in it, and they forget that above the test, there should be something that they gain from their learning. According to Snowman and McCown, they seem more concerned with the score of the test more than anything else (Snowman et al. 42). If standardized tests were abolished, then the students would be really learning to get knowledge and get concepts studied, and this will go a long way in improving our education system. A standardized test that rates students, should, therefore, be administered.