What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (2023)

Standardized testing is a hot-button subject, one which’s fraught with controversy. Whereas these assessments have been round for many years, the rise in testing within the final 20 years or so has introduced the problem to the forefront. As mother and father take into account opting their college students out and some states search to eliminate them, it’s price asking: What precisely is standardized testing, and why will we deal with it so closely?

What’s standardized testing?

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (1)

Supply: StateImpact

In a standardized take a look at, each scholar responds to the identical questions (or questions from similar query financial institution), below the very same set of situations. They’re typically made up of multiple-choice questions and are given on paper or (extra generally as of late) on a pc. Specialists select the questions rigorously to check a particular set of expertise and information.

Giant teams of scholars take the identical standardized checks, not simply these in the identical class or faculty. This offers folks the prospect to check outcomes throughout a particular group, normally youngsters of the identical age or grade stage.

What are some sorts of standardized checks?

There are several types of standardized checks, together with:

  • Diagnostic take a look at: These typically assist decide if a scholar qualifies for particular schooling providers. They’ll take a look at educational, bodily and high quality motor expertise, social and behavioral expertise, and extra. Examples is perhaps a listening to take a look at or a studying incapacity take a look at.
  • Achievement take a look at: Such a take a look at measures a scholar’s present strengths and weaknesses in a selected space, virtually at all times educational topics. Examples embody the SAT, the Iowa Assessments, and the checks many states use at sure grade ranges.

See an inventory of well-liked standardized checks right here.

How are standardized checks scored?

Every particular person standardized take a look at has its personal scoring mechanism. Normally, a scholar earns a rating primarily based on the variety of appropriate solutions they offer. These scores may be analyzed in two alternative ways: criterion-referenced and norm-referenced.

Criterion-Referenced Scoring

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (2)

Supply: Criterion-Primarily based Testing/Renaissance

In one of these scoring, a scholar’s outcomes are measured in opposition to predetermined requirements, not in opposition to different take a look at takers’ outcomes. Their scores may assist educators place them in classes like “proficient,” “superior,” or “poor.”

Superior Placement (AP) exams are a superb instance of criterion-referenced checks. College students earn a rating on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the best. They earn these scores primarily based on preset requirements. College students aren’t ranked compared to each other.

One other instance could be a driver’s license take a look at. College students go or fail primarily based on their solutions, with no reference to how others rating. Criterion-referenced checks assist measure a scholar’s private achievements, no matter their age or grade stage.

Norm-Referenced Scoring

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (3)

Supply: Norm-Primarily based Testing/Renaissance

In norm-referenced checks, college students are ranked primarily based on their scores. This locations them into “percentiles,” which measure how they carried out in comparison with their friends. If a scholar is within the 58th percentile, it means they scored greater than 58% of all the scholars who took the examination. It’s normally higher to rank in a better percentile.

Most state standardized checks are norm-referenced, as are IQ checks. A scholar can carry out effectively on a take a look at, but when their friends carried out higher, they may nonetheless be ranked in a decrease percentile. These scores are ranked on a bell curve.

You possibly can consider norm-referenced checks the identical approach you may consider a development chart on the physician’s workplace. Docs know the typical top for a kid at a sure age. They’ll then evaluate a particular youngster to these averages, to find out if they’re shorter or taller than common.

Study extra about criterion-referenced vs. norm-referenced checks right here.

What are standardized checks used for?

Standardized checks are supposed to give educators an opportunity to find out how efficient their instruction methods are general. They’ll additionally assist determine strengths and weaknesses in college students, so these college students can obtain individualized consideration as wanted. Many take into account them an vital approach to make sure all college students throughout a state and even the nation are studying to the identical fundamental instructional requirements.

The Elementary and Secondary Training Act of 1965 first required faculties to make use of standardized checks. This act supplied funding to colleges to make sure each scholar had entry to equal schooling alternatives, and used standardized checks to find out how faculties had been performing in opposition to nationwide averages. The No Baby Left Behind Act of 2001 ramped up standardized testing even additional. It tied some federal funding to scholar take a look at scores, and raised the stakes for faculties dramatically.

The Each Pupil Succeeds Act of 2015 at present requires annual statewide checks in studying/language arts and arithmetic to all college students in grades 3-8 and as soon as throughout the highschool years. States additionally should take a look at on science no less than as soon as in every of grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12.

What are the advantages to standardized testing?

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (4)

Supply: ViewSonic

Proponents of standardized checks take into account these components to be among the many advantages:

  • Standardization of high quality curriculum: By requiring standardized checks, faculties throughout the nation may be certain they’re educating the essential expertise and information each scholar wants at particular ages. Specialists decide the talents and information they really feel will equip college students to reach the bigger world after they graduate.
  • Equality and fairness: Decrease-income populations have lengthy been underserved by conventional instructional programs. By requiring all faculties to fulfill the identical instructional requirements, as measured by checks, schooling turns into extra equitable for all.
  • Elimination of bias: When computer systems or neutral graders rating checks objectively, it eliminates potential bias. (This assumes the take a look at writers created non-biased questions.)
  • Measure of efficient instruction: Excessive-ranking faculties could possibly share their instruction strategies with those that rank decrease, encouraging ingenuity and cooperation throughout the system. Assessments can decide the place academics might have extra coaching, or the place further funding might assist faculties enhance their packages.

Study extra potential advantages of standardized testing right here.

What are some drawbacks of standardized testing?

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (5)

Supply: NEA

Regardless of the potential advantages, the backlash in opposition to elevated testing has grow to be louder lately. Lecturers, college students, and oldsters fear about many components, together with:


In a nationwide examine of the biggest city faculties, college students took a mean of 112 standardized checks from kindergarten by means of commencement. College students could spend as many as 19 hours or extra taking these checks every year. And this doesn’t embody time spent on take a look at prep or follow checks.

What’s extra, academics typically notice that standardized checks don’t match up with their textbooks or different supplies. Typically they don’t even match the state instructional requirements. And even after they do, the requirements will not be notably related or helpful for each scholar.

Study why academics want they’d extra involvement in standardized take a look at improvement.

Take a look at Anxiousness

Taking a take a look at is rarely a laid-back course of, and by no means extra so than throughout standardized checks. College students are scrutinized from all angles to ensure they don’t cheat. Lecturers need to carry out that scrutiny and sometimes bear a few of it themselves.

There’s a lot stress to do effectively on these checks that youngsters can really feel prefer it’s a life-or-death state of affairs. Their nervousness goes by means of the roof, and even those that know the fabric totally could not carry out effectively below the stress. And an increasing number of districts consider academics primarily based no less than partly on scholar take a look at scores. This may have an effect on their salaries and probabilities for development.

Extra Youngsters Than Ever Are Dealing With Take a look at Anxiousness, and We Must Assist

Misplaced Educational Time

With days misplaced to taking checks, to not point out on a regular basis spent getting ready, different instructional facets fall by the wayside. Lecturers lose the prospect to offer college students extra significant hands-on experiences. They eradicate distinctive and interesting initiatives or actions that don’t straight relate to objects included on checks. Because the saying goes, they “train to the take a look at,” and nothing extra.

Learn what one instructor would like to inform their college students about benchmark testing.

Lack of Helpful Information

Many academics will let you know that they’ll predict virtually precisely how their college students will rating on the standardized assessments. In different phrases, these checks aren’t giving them any new data. Lecturers already know which college students are struggling and which have mastered the required expertise and information. Generated information hardly ever appears to offer any helpful direct advantages to academics or college students.

See the 7 Greatest Complaints Lecturers Have About Testing—and Learn how to Repair Them.

Nonetheless have extra questions on standardized testing? Be part of the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Fb to speak with different educators.

Plus, These Take a look at-Taking Methods Will Assist College students Move With Ease.

What Is Standardized Testing? Definitions, Execs and Cons & Extra - Main Matters (6)


What are pros and cons of standardized testing? ›

PRO: They help teachers to identify areas for improvement. CON: Standardized tests cause stress and anxiety for children. PRO: They help keep schools accountable to policymakers. CON: Teachers 'teach to the test' which leads to the lower-quality rote learning method of teaching.

What are the three main purposes of standardized testing? ›

The main purposes for standardized testing are to compare student achievement, to serve as an accountability measurement for teachers/schools/school districts, and to provide the necessary information for data-driven instruction.

What is the explanation of standardized tests? ›

A standardized test is a test that is given to students in a very consistent manner; meaning that the questions on the test are all the same, the time given to each student is the same, and the way in which the test is scored is the same for all students.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of standardization? ›

A second advantage is that it can reduce costs by enabling all hotels in a chain to take advantage of economies of scale and negotiate lower prices from suppliers. The main disadvantage to standardization is that it reduces the flexibility of a chain to cater for regional tastes and expectations.

What is the benefit of standardized testing? ›

Academic Aptitude and Achievement

In higher education, standardized testing measures students' adeptness for college-level coursework. ACT® and SAT® scores are the strongest predictors of a student's first-year performance as well as retention and graduation rates.

What are the two most important characteristics of a standardized test? ›

Any standardized test must have high reliability and validity.

Are standardized tests effective? ›

Key Takeaways. Standardized tests don't accurately measure student learning and growth. Unlike standardized tests, performance-based assessment allows students to choose how they show learning. Performance-based assessment is equitable, accurate, and engaging for students and teachers.

What are the two main types of standardized tests? ›

The SAT and the IQ test are examples of aptitude tests. One's score on the SAT is said to be a good indicator of his or her future performance in the first year of college, while the IQ test indicates scholastic aptitude or a student's ability to solve certain problems involved in schoolwork (www.

What are the main types of standardized tests? ›

Types of Standardized Tests
  • ACT (American College Testing)
  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  • AP (Advanced Placement) exams.
  • PERT (Postsecondary Education Readiness Test)
  • PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test)
May 27, 2021

Why is standardized testing controversial? ›

Standardized tests scores are not predictors of future success. Standardized tests can only, at best, evaluate rote knowledge of math, science, and English. The tests do not evaluate creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, artistic ability, or other knowledge areas that cannot be judged…

What are the different types of standardized tests? ›

Finally, the three major types of standardized tests are psychological, which measures performance compared to diagnostic criteria; achievement, which determines comprehension of skills or knowledge; and aptitude, which forecasts abilities.

What is the biggest issue with standardized testing? ›

The problem of standardized testing is that it has less to do with the development of kids and a lot more to do with funding, which starts at the top of the federal hierarchy. Schools rely on test scores and graduation rates to acquire the same, or better, federal funding for the next year.

Why was standardized testing created? ›

From 1875 through the end of World War I, standardized tests were developed to determine student preparation for college. In 1890, the president of Harvard College proposed a national entrance exam for American colleges.

Who benefits from standardization? ›

The benefits of standardization. Fundamentally, standardization means that your employees have an established, time-tested process to use. When done well, standardization can decrease ambiguity and guesswork, guarantee quality, boost productivity, and increase employee morale.

What are four advantages of standardization? ›

Rationalize different varieties of products. Decrease the volume of products in the store and also the manufacturer cost. Improve the management and design. Speed up the management of orders.

What are the main advantages of the standard? ›

Standards provide clarity about the properties of a product and are considered to be clear and recognized rules of technology. In contracts, reference to standards increases legal certainty.

What is the importance of standardized? ›

Standardization brings innovation and spreads knowledge

Standardization also brings innovation, first because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process and, second, because it makes it easier to disseminate groundbreaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques.

What are the three characteristics of standardized tests? ›

Reliability − This refers to the consistency of scores obtainedby an individual on the same test on two different occasions. Test-retest indicates temporal stability and split-half indicates internal consistency of the test. Norms − The test needs to devise norms or the average performance of the group.

What is an example of a standardized test? ›

Standardized tests are often used to select students for specific programs. For example, the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (American College Test) are norm referenced tests used to help determine if high school students are admitted to selective colleges.

Do standardized tests still matter? ›

Yes, standardized tests still matter. For students applying to academically selective colleges in the US, they should still take and submit their ACT or SAT scores.

When did standardized testing become an issue? ›

Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states.

How does standardized testing affect students mentally? ›

This can cause many mental issues as students are studying for long periods of time and stressing about a test. According to soeoline.com, “Standardized testing causes headaches, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, stress and attendance issues”. Standardized testing is also, in some cases, ineffective.

What is the best type of standardized test? ›

Stanford Achievement Test (SAT; High School Version – TASK)

This is also a top-rated, nationally standardized test. The Stanford tests listening skills through grade eight, and includes the scores from science/social studies in the Complete Composite score. This test is unique in that it is not timed.

What is one of the most common standardized assessment tests? ›

SAT. Once known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the SAT is one of the most well-known and commonly administered standardized tests in the United States. Most high school juniors and seniors take the SAT or the PSAT (Preliminary SAT), as it is a common requirement for admission to college.

Should students have homework pros and cons? ›

The pros and cons of homework
  • Teachers And Students Working Together. ...
  • Brings Families Closer Together. ...
  • Teaches The Child How To Be Responsible. ...
  • The Child Needs Relaxation Time. ...
  • Decrease In Socialization. ...
  • Increase In Conflicts Between Parent And Child.

Why are standardized tests criticized? ›

Some critics believe that standardized tests don't always accurate reflect what a student has learned. Many critics are also concerned about bias in test taking.

Do standardized tests cause stress? ›

Stress and its effect on the brain might be one reason that students from low-income neighborhoods tend to fare worse on high-stakes tests. Children are affected by standardized testing, with some seeing their cortisol levels spike on testing days, and others seeing it drop, which might lead them to disengage.

What is one of the advantages of standardized testing quizlet? ›

The main benefit of standardized tests is they are typically more reliable and valid than non-standardized measures.

Who invented homework 😡? ›

Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is often credited with having invented homework in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources.

What are 3 benefits of homework? ›

Homework teaches students how to problem solve. Homework gives student another opportunity to review class material. Homework gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school. Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.

What is an example of bias in standardized testing? ›

For example, the number of students who have the lowest test scores on standardized tests are disproportionately Black and male, and they are placed in special-education programs through standardized testing.

Do standardized tests really matter? ›

Standardized testing can also help standardize individual students' educations. In addition to comparing students against one another or identifying problematic schools or districts, standardized tests can also illustrate student progress over time.

Why do teachers not like standardized testing? ›

Standardized test scores are often tied to important outcomes, such as graduation and school funding. Such high-stakes testing can place undue stress on students and affect their performance. Standardized tests fail to account for students who learn and demonstrate academic proficiency in different ways.

Is standardized testing helpful or harmful? ›

Standardized testing is also a good way of ensuring that students are properly learning the information that is being taught to them. If an entire class performs poorly on a standardized test, more likely than not, it's a reflection on the professor's method of instruction.

Why are grades better than standardized tests? ›

Students earn grades based on a wide range of assessments, activities, and behaviors – quizzes, class participation, oral and written reports, group assignments, homework, and in-class work. Standardized tests, on the other hand, are not assigned on such a multifaceted range of factors.

What type of tests compare students with other students? ›

Norm-referenced assessment is a type of standardized test that compares students' performances to one another.


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