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Are standardized tests necessary to measure students’ academic abilities?

Standardized tests, a fixture in American education, have been the source of increased anxiety for students, parents, and teachers. In particular, student performance on the SAT or ACT is widely seen as one of the most important factors in admission to competitive colleges. While proponents of testing say it is the best way to objectively measure students’ learning, critics argue that the tests are an inaccurate way to assess students’ achievement and potential. Are standardized tests good, bad, or all of the above?


Study: Colleges That Ditch The SAT And ACT Can Enhance Diversity

Additional resources to think about

What to do about standardized tests
In this article from Forbes, some reformers think standardized tests in K-12 can be changed and used in different ways rather than eliminated completely.

Pa. cancels standardized testing because of coronavirus
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHYY details how Pennsylvania made the decision to cancel the commonwealth-wide exams for students in K-12.

Would eliminating this standardized test increase racial equity in elite NYC schools?
PBS NewsHour looks into the movement to eliminate a standardized test that critics say is a barrier for marginalized students.

Is Assessment Ready to Move Beyond Standardized Tests? These MIT Researchers Think So.
This article from EdSurge details how a group of educational researchers are attempting more accurately measure learning outcomes using “playful assessment.”

'I want to cry because they are affected so much': Pandemic widens divide over standardized tests
The Boston Globe covers the impact of optional and reduced testing opportunities during the pandemic, and how they worry how it will affect their chances of going to college.

Opinion: Standardized tests offer 'a neutral yardstick' in college admissions
This Op-Ed in the Hechinger Report talks about why some educators think going test-optional may be better for colleges than students applying.

Why colleges are reconsidering their reliance on standardized tests for admission
In this video from PBS NewsHour, a recent college admissions scandal and the coronavirus pandemic is forcing many colleges to change their stance on standardized testing.

What Does the Research Say About Testing?
This article from Edutopia details the studies of standardized testing conducted over the past fifteen years have shed light on how test format and testing conditions factor into student performance.

Should we get rid of standardized testing?
In this TED-Ed video, Arlo Kempf investigates the history and impact of standardized testing.

Teachers explain how standardized testing causes stress on students
In this local news segment from WFSB-CT, teachers and parents detail the stress that standardized testing can put on students, teachers, and parents.

When More Testing Is Actually A Good Thing
This video from NOVA asks if a constant testing strategy is better than assigning grades to students, especially when it helps them recall information and build memory.


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Are standardized tests necessary to measure students’ academic abilities?

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