Standardized testing unfair for all

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With the increase of standardized testing to augment the No Child Left Behind act, ironically it seems many children are still being left behind. 

With the increase of standardized testing to augment the No Child Left Behind act, ironically it seems many children are still being left behind. 

There is an astounding amount of flaw that comes along with lumping any group of individuals together. These issues are seen heavily with implementations of standardized testing and the ones affected are already at a disadvantage. Setting the educational bar high is fine. It is ideal. As an advanced nation, the U.S. needs to expect a higher level of education and aptitude. It needs to be encouraged, but it also needs to be made fair and attainable. After all, the Supreme Court ruled in the Brown vs. Board of Education that separate is not equal.

An unfortunate reality is that the bar is high and not all students have the same jumping point. Standardized testing is holding back students coming from lower income backgrounds, minority groups, those learning English as a second language and students with disabilities. These students are tied to the train tracks and are being run over with inability to receive diplomas, or being retained a grade. They are placed on educational tracks based on results and if they did not do well, are placed in remedial classes with watered down curriculum. They are having their heads pushed farther under water. Once in these classes with diluted material, they only fall faster behind their peers. Those who are discouraged often drop out.

Those that come from higher income backgrounds that have an advantage already, are given more of a leg up when they place into higher level tracks. They are encouraged to be independent thinkers and are allowed more creativity. Lower placing students are encouraged to be stagnant and obedient members of society. This is creating a dormant and ignorant population. Education is the key to change in many areas, but America is failing at lifting up the many as it focuses on raising the few. 

Another issue with standardized testing is that teachers tend to focus class times on the narrow scope of what will be on the test. Tests are not only used as a reflection of a student’s capability, but as a test of the teachers as well as the educational system as a whole. From this, teachers and officials strive to make test scores rise, even if it means changing scores and cheating. This system really has such an immense amount of harm and a dismal amount of good, that it is a shock that it is still used as a revered indicator.

Other countries evaluate students based on a range of work such as classroom participation, writing capabilities and individual performance. It has been shown that from this, they actually do better on tests, because they are not being force fed a myopic standardized test.

Testing does not need to be done away with. It needs to be observed in a way that doesn’t discriminate against those who have not had equal opportunities. It can be used to gauge where an individual is at educationally to see where improvements need to be made. More emphasis needs to be put on things that matter more than a multiple-choice test.