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Why Standardized test are running public education

Updated on September 13, 2010


     As identified in the title the question is not whether standardized test are running education but why.  Today there are many standardized test being used in our educational system to measure school success.  Standardized test do serve a purpose in providing a measurement of how well students are learning and how well instructors are teaching.  Measuring school success and quality is an important aspect of our educational system but the question to be answered is how best to accomplish this measurement.  Standardized test are a good resource but this resource should not be the only measurement used.

     Schools have different factors involved in their educational needs and capabilities.  We as a country have high quality educational resources for which many from foreign countries realize.  We have many foreign students within our educational system and this is an example of how our educational system is perceived.  While test may be needed to judge the student level of understanding on various subjects they should not be used as they are today.  The results of test may not always reflect the environment of students affecting their knowledge of any particular subject.  There are those who are knowledgeable on various subjects but have a difficult time in taking test.  These individuals can exhibit their knowledge and capability for specific subjects if given the proper opportunity.

       The main point of this article was to examine why standardized test are running public education.  The clear purpose appears to be that it is an easy process to test using standardized test.  Standardized test exist for various subjects and can identify who has the capability of comprehending the material.  Standardized tests have different objectives depending upon the subject and the way the test is conducted and who conducts it.  Public education is an important resource for our country to provide the leaders of tomorrow. 

     Some standardized tests examples include ACT, SAT, SAT II, CAAP, CBASE, CLAST, CUNY and the PSAT/NMSQT test.  Each of these has their own objective and is taken at different times during their educational years.  Some of these are explained below along when they are normally given.

     The first is the PSAT/NMSQT is titled Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Assessment Test.  This test is usually taken during a student’s junior year and helps prepare for the SAT.  The SAT reasoning test is also usually taken during the junior year or fall of a student’s senior year in high school.  The explanation of the list of standardized tests noted above is below:


ACT – American College Testing Program


SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test– This test is presently administered by the Educational Testing Services.  It is designed to measure critical educational thinking skills needed for academic success in college.


SAT II – A group of 20 standardized test on 20 individual subjects

CAAP – The Collegiate Assessment Academic Proficiency (administered by ACT).  This test was created to allow postsecondary institutions to assess, evaluate, and enhance the outcomes of student learning and general education programs


CBASE – The college Academic Subjects Examination (requirement for bachelor degree graduates


CLAST – College level Academic Skills Test.  This test is a requirement for the state of Florida for students who are looking to qualify for the AA degree.


CUNY – City University of New York.  This test is a requirement for the University of New York and its purpose is to evaluate your ability to learn, rather than what you have already learned.


     As you can see there is a variety of standardized tests associated with college entrance each having a specific purpose.  It is clear that there are valid purposes for the use of standardized test.  They can be a measure of what you have learned or your learning capability as in the CUNY test for the University of New York.  Some may say that standardized test damage the educational system and in this respect I say they are wrong.  While there may be some drawbacks to standardized test there are many positive results.  We can learn much about ourselves including our interests and talents.  This is never a bad thing.  There are times when individuals find out they have talents for specific subjects that they never knew they had.  This can sometimes lead to a rewarding career in a topic where they would be successful. 

     One last point to make is that standardized tests have been used for years and over time they are updated to adjust the content and structure of the test to better achieve the desired results.  As with anything else adjustments are always made to provide better results in reflecting an accurate evaluation of individuals taking a test.  Another reason for updating test is to avoid penalizing any specific group of individuals while achieving an accurate picture in relation to the purpose.

Standardized tests are a positive aspect of our educational system and is the reason why they are used.









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