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Standardized Testing


New Member
Hi there,

I am doing a research paper about the effects of standardized testing on the mental well-being of students and teachers, as well as its effects on the way teachers actually teach. What are the benefits and what are the disadvantages?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.
: )


Senior Member
Testing Thoughts

I hate the idea of testing. It is a week long torture of students and teachers. The only reason I can see for this barbaric method is to have parents further brag on how smart their child is or tests. It also reenforces to the parents of students who struggle that their child is not average or brilliant in regards to testing.

The child who is normally brillant and tests poorly will not truly get scores that refelct their aptitude. The child who usually struggles, will struggle even more and test poorly because the help he or she usually gets is not allowed on the test.

I do not teach to the test. I teach at a catholic school and I really don't care who scores in the 99% or the 50%. I already know that from being with the child. I want to know what areas the class as a whole is not working on at grade level so that I can work on those parts of their education. I want to know what each child is not working on at grade level so that I can fill in those holes in their education before next year.

Government decided which public schools are better by what the schools test however, that is a flawed system. There are children with disabilities, ell and esl that lower the class and school scores. Some schools are doing great things for the disabled, ell and esl. The scores should reflect individual growth from year to year on each child and not a magic number that is needed.


Senior Member
mixed response

I thought I would hate standardized testing until I became a teacher in a standardized-testing grade. In my state, children are AUTOMATICALLY retained if they do not pass the FCAT (and can actually repeat it twice!) There are pros and cons to this.

* In the age of apathetic parents, I can actually get most parents on the phone or in my classroom at least once during the school year since they know what's on the line.
* I find that the test content is pretty much connected to what kids need to know by the time they finish 3rd grade.
* Kids need to score over 50% to pass. Since my kids who haven't passed are kids that shouldn't pass (I've pegged each of them the first month of school), I feel it's pretty on-the-mark. I also need to mention that some kids I thought wouldn't pass have risen to the occasion by viewing it as a challenge.
* One student who I retained (in my class again this year) has flourished. She is reading so much better, and her self-confidence is through the roof. She struggled so much last year, and now I feel she is on stronger footing for the school journey ahead. She would never have been retained otherwise and would likely have struggled throughout her school career.
* I love taking standardized tests (weird, I know.) So I share the idea of it as being a fun challenge to prepare for. As we prepare, my kids often point out that what we're reviewing they've learned already this year. I tell them that's the point: to see what you already know (and should have learned.)

* Obviously, it's not a one-size-fits-all world. It's not fair to ESL, ESE, and many slow test takers. We have many protections in place for those who really need them, but the trick is making sure the kids who need them get them. It takes a lot of time and documentation. That is stressful on the 3rd-grade teaching team.
* Time spent practicing for the test eats away from science and social studies time in our school. This is often the most fun part of the kids' year. We work hard (another stress) to fit in everything by creating units to teach before and after testing. We test in late February, so Jan & Feb are reserved for daily 45-min. FCAT review sessions instead of the ususal science/social studies.
* The stress on the kids. Many kids are afraid of standardized testing. It's always the really good students who have nothing to worry about. I even had one mom confide in me that her daughter wet the bed during the testing week (and that was when I taught 2nd grade where the testing has no high-stakes connections!) I share a lot of test anxiety tips with my parents early and often. I make sure the FCAT becomes a regular topic of conversation in a non-threatening way.
* I am stressed about fitting in practice sessions and preparing my kids correctly. My teammates often feel stressed during the test itself, but I kind of enjoy it since I figure my work is done. Also, I find if I'm calm and relaxed my kids will feel better and do better.

I don't personally feel the testing has an effect on the way I teach other than the practice sessions I have to fit in. If I use best-practice methods and teach 3rd grade content strongly (which I like to think I do) my kids will be okay. I teach in a Title I school where many kids come into school behind their peers. We (all the grade levels) do a great job of preparing our kids the best we can. In a nutshell: I don't love standardized testing, but I've adapted to it just fine.