I am teaching a Saturday class called CAPT Academy in which students come to learn how to better prepare for the CAPT test (CT's standardized test). CAPT Academy works well with its objective and I thoroughly enjoy teaching it. It's nice to have another day with the students and have a little less informal instructional time with them. However, I can't help but think about the resources that are used on CAPT Academy that could better utilized in other ways to better help student learning. I am not faulting my school's choice to run CAPT Academy. They are required like many schools to complete this testing and it makes sense to help the scholars as much as possible on the test.

This comes to the main point of my post. Standardized testing has some major issues. Here is a list of some things just off the top of my head.

  1. Standardized tests are often culturally biased and use language that disproportionately punishes low-income students, English Language Learners (ELLs), and special education students.
    • One such example happened with an example test in which the students are asked about appraisals. Many students did not know what appraisals were and were therefore unfairly tested on it. This was a math test by the way. I wouldn't want to even imagine the stress level caused by lack of knowledge of a word when they were already nervous about the test.
  2. Standardized tests can be poorly valid measurements of student learning and ability.
    • The testing seems to stuck in the lower areas of thinking based on Bloom's taxonomy. Little creation or analysis is showcased and these are among the most important for students to master.
  3. Standardized tests lead to a slim and limited curriculum. This is often referred to "teaching to the test". This causes less focus on critical thinking and problem solving, and the marginalizing of untested subjects. It also causes curriculum to be more teacher-focused rather than student-focused. If students are more interested in a certain topic, "teaching to the test" provides little flexibility.
  4. Standardized tests waste instructional time, threaten the arts, and are often expensive to administer and teach to.
  5. Standardized tests become sorting and stratifying mechanisms, and some students wind up with more of the same (test prep and rigid regulations), while high-scoring schools in affluent areas maintain a more varied curriculum.
  6. Standardized tests are very poor indicators of teacher effectiveness.
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