How Standardized Testing Damages Education (Updated July 2012)
HOW STANDARDIZED TESTING DAMAGES EDUCATION
How do schools use standardized tests?
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era has seen an unprecedented expansion of standardized testing and test misuse. Despite ample evidence of the flaws, biases and inaccuracies of standardized exams, NCLB and related state and federal policies, such as Race to the Top (RTTT) and the NCLB waivers, have pressured schools to use tests to measure student learning, achievement gaps, and teacher and school quality, and to impose sanctions based on test scores. This is on top of using tests to determine if children are ready for school; track them into instructional levels; diagnose learning disabilities, retardation and other handicaps; and decide whether to promote, retain in grade, or graduate. School systems also use tests to guide and control curriculum content and teaching.
Aren't these valid uses of test scores?
Measurement experts agree that no test is good enough to serve as the sole or primary basis for any of these important educational decisions. A nine-year study by the National Research Council (2011) concluded that the emphasis on