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By definition, standardized tests are tests administered to learners in a consistent manner or in a uniform way for all the learners. They have a specific design such that the questions asked, the conditions for administering, and the marking procedures are the same for all who are taking the tests. Standardized tests are very popular in many education systems all over the world. According to Villani, the earliest evidence of standardized test was in China (Snowman, Jack et al. 74). Many other countries adopted this system in their education systems. Standardized tests ignore the basic point of learning ‘to understand’, and they prepare learners for specific areas, turning them to robots; therefore, they should not be taken by learners (Villani, 34).
Standardized tests are meant to bring fairness and equality. However, these tests are biased in a way. When they are administered, the same answers are expected from all the students, and these answers are specific. According to Springer, Reider, and Frank, learning environment affects how a student grasps information (Villani, 28). Some students are less privileged, and, therefore, the environment in which they are learning is not very conducive. This will affect their understanding capability and hence, their performance. On the other hand, there are students who are learning in very favorable environment, which automatically boosts their understanding. It is, therefore, unfair to test these two different types of students in the same way and expect the same answers from both of them. The privileged students will have an upper hand. If non-standardized tests were administered, then there would be some fairness, since questions would be set considering the learning environment.
Standardized tests are unreliable means of examining students’ understanding. According to Villani, a test would be considered reliable if the same results were obtained the second time it was administered (Villani, 52). If the standardized tests were administered for a second time, students may have changed their answers based on what they may have heard from other students. The performance of these standardized tests will, therefore, not display the real picture of student’s capability and understanding. Standardized test should, therefore, not be taken.
Standardized tests require only specific right answers. The right answers are assumed to measure the understanding and thinking capability of a student accurately. Wrong answers, on the other hand, are assumed not to contain any information that could be meaningful. This brings a big margin of error. Students may get some right answers by mere guessing. This means that their performance will not display their thinking capacity. Wrong answers may contain some meaningful information, but since standard answers are expected, then they are just assumed entirely wrong. Non-standard test does not expect the same answers, and therefore, the wrong answers may be looked at to see if they have any meaningful detail (Villani, 24). Students’ guessing answers may also be minimized, and, therefore, standardized test should not be taken.
Some standardized tests contain multiple choices and require students to determine only one correct answer. This does not leave a student with an opportunity to create and think critically. Students will, therefore, be programmed to think in a certain way and become no different from a robot. This contradicts with the basic need for learning to understand.
Moreover, standardized tests bring about a feeling of competition among students from different places or within a school. Standardized tests are aimed at ranking rather than rating students. Students focus all their energy to compete among themselves, and they forget about the value they should add to themselves as they learn. The students go as far as even cramming information to prove that they are better than others are. Non-standardized tests do not require students to compete, and therefore, students will internalize what they learn and not cram to compete.