Analyzing the mass pursuit for standardization in every aspect of society, the issue can be considered two-fold. On the one hand, among the benefits of standards is the creation of unified criteria, based on which a comparison could be made and the quality can be assessed. Additionally, standards enable establishing certain requirements to meet in different aspects. On the other hand, there are areas in which standardization cannot cover all the external factors, which can confound the measurement process in many ways. Standardized test, which results are used as the sole determining factor in making a decision, also known as high stakes testing, can be seen as one of the areas in which standardization can be controversial. In that regard, this paper analyzes high stakes testing in schools, and the issues that might be associated with it, and providing personal recommendations on how these issues might be resolved in class.
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High stakes testing can be defined as testing that” has consequences attached to the results” (Mitchell, 2006) In that regard, taking into perspective different high stake testing, such as high school exit exams and grade to grade promotion tests, there are several ethical consideration in that matter. The main ethical question is the possibility of influencing the future of a student, with a single indicator that might prove wrong. This ethical aspect is combined by the fact that the role of teacher’s leadership and educational philosophy is eliminated, leaving students destiny in the hand of one-dimensional factors. (Peterson, 2005) Another consideration is that, despite the standard nature of the test, each state has the ability to develop and administer own examinations, and thus, manipulating the standards of self-developed test in order to meet other standards, such as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
The top major issues in high stakes testing can be seen through the following:
- The confinement of the taught material to that related to the test. In that regard, the teacher might face a dilemma, whether heshe should expand the material taught, or stay with the objectives covered within the tests.
- Creative thinking. High stakes tests cannot assess the creativity of the student, where the test covers generalized content , while such aspects as students creative thinking cannot be assessed and evaluated and accordingly cannot be credited for. In addition, although open ended tests are available, In which students are asked to construct their answer, but nevertheless, open ended questions requires human readers to assess and thus, subjectivity and possibility of bias might influent the assessment process.
- Students’ with difficulties
In terms of the limits that might be put on the of the material, a possible initiative can be seen, the avoidance of focusing the learning process on the test subject, but rather integrate the objectives and the criteria of the test into the school’s curriculum. In terms of creative thinking, intermediary tests should be established, in which creative thinking will be promoted regardless of the scores of high stake tests. The assessment of individual abilities of the students can be seen through alternative assessment testing approved in Texas (TAKS-M). (Texas Education Agency, 2008) Although the results of the implementation still need assessment, the direction toward which the differentiated assessment is heading can be already outlined.
It can be concluded that, despite the possibilities to deal with the issues of high stakes testing, nevertheless, it present an inconvenient system, in which new confounding factors can be found. In that regard, the personal factors that influenced the aforementioned recommendation stem from the desire to deliver knowledge, rather than guaranteeing the passing of tests.
Lewis, A. (2000). High-stakes testing: Trends and issues. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. Web.
Mitchell, R. (2006). Standardized and high-stakes tests. The Center for Public Education. Web.
Peterson, M. S. (2005). The Ethical Dilemmas of High-Stakes Testing and Issues for Teacher Preparation Programs. Journal of College & Character, 6(7). Web.
Texas Education Agency. (2008). Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills–Modified (TAKS–M). Texas Education Agency. Web.