The purpose of this study is to understand how standardized testing has left its mark on students and how it will continue to do so unless an alternative takes its place. Standardized testing has been around in the United States since World War I, used as a means to see if you were adequate enough to enter the army; it soon began in the schools too. A small history lesson will show that World War I began in 1917, so our education system has been using the same method of testing for almost a century.
Since 2002, the United States enacted the No Child Left Behind Act increasing funds for standardized testing. Should not these sudden rushes of funds increase the rank of the United States amongst the World? Fun fact: The United States slipped from 18th in the World in Match on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 31st place in 2009. So has knowing how to take a test replaced the need to actually learn?
This Research Study will focus on students' experiences with standardized testing. Prior student and spoken word artist, Suli Breaks, speaks about his experience. In his spoken word "I Will Not Let an Exam Decide My Fate" we see how standardized testing shaped his mind.
- Standardized testing
- Testing problems
- Education for the 21st Century
- Education change
- Curriculum development
- How do students describe standardized testing?
This study will use a four-person focus group. These people will be college freshmen who have graduated from a public high school, in the United States, in the past three years. The group will meet outside of John Jay College in a Starbucks in Manhattan because not everyone participating in the focus group will be from John Jay College. A Manhattan Starbucks is an accessible place for anyone in New York City. This group will meet on November 11, 2014, because it falls on the least busy day for the focus group. The questions that I will be asking include but are not limited to:
- What are your thoughts and feelings on standardized testing?
- What have been your experiences with standardized testing?
- What if I told you, after the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2002 which increased the funds going towards standardized testing, the United States slipped from 18th in the World in Math on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 31st place in 2009, with a similar drop in science and no change in reading. Is that surprising? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is fair to judge a teacher depending on their students' scores on standardized tests? Why or why not?
- Do you know of any alternatives to standardized testing?
I am a John Jay College Freshman, who has recently graduated from a New York City public high school so I have dealt with standardized testing throughout all of my academic careers. As a young child, I questioned why everyone had to take the same exact test if everyone had different learning styles. That question remained unanswered to this day and now I begin to see my younger sister growing up asking herself the same question.
My younger sister was never a good test taker; she is able to comprehend everything that is taught to her but when it comes to taking a test, the same knowledge that she knows perfectly does not come out on the test paper. So what happens to other children that are like my sister? Do they fall through the cracks of the educational system or spend endless nights worrying about the test they are supposed to take the next day?
Upon the completion of my research I will be able to answer two questions: is standardized testing an outdated method and are there alternatives to standardized that have been tried and succeeded? I see myself, after my research study is over, thinking about the way standardized testing has changed students making them see the education system as a lost cause. This could lead to children enjoying school less, often times leading to truancy, which then increases the rates of delinquency. As an aspiring criminal prosecutor, that is something I do not want to see. Changing how students view the educational system can change many other things as well.