Standardized Testing: A Form of Oppression?

Standardized testing is an often talked about, controversial topic in the education world. Some are in favor of standardized testing, saying that it is a way to better understand a school’s performance. Others, on the other hand, view it as the opposite. Prior to joining the education program, I had no opinion at all on standardized testing. I completed these tests throughout my school career, and still did not consider how they were affecting me as a student. Since coming to the U of R, I have formed a very strong opinion on the subject, as have many of my fellow colleagues. My opinion now is that I strongly disagree with standardized testing.

Throughout our time in the faculty of Education, my colleagues and I have learned so many beneficial practices to take into our future classrooms. So far, all of these practices centre on seeing each child as an individual person. This means implementing practices that do not discriminate based on race, gender, age, or ability level, and celebrating all students for the capable learners that they are. Inquiry, exploration, and play based learning are popular topics in class. We are taught to be inclusive to all, and teach each child based on their learning styles and strengths. I believe that the practices I have learned while at the U of R have been fundamental in shaping who I am as a future educator, and I also believe that standardized testing goes against every single one of these practices.

Standardized testing does not focus on the learner. It uses one form of testing to judge every student, regardless of outside circumstances. It enables students to believe that if they cannot complete the test, they are not capable. It does not focus on multiculturalism or inclusiveness. I could go on and on about the reasons I do not believe in standardized testing. If there are so many downsides to standardized testing, then why is it still happening?

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6 thoughts on “Standardized Testing: A Form of Oppression?

  1. cmartinuk2014 says:

    I loved your blog! You hit so many key points about standardized testing. Since many of us as students have completed these standardized tests, how do you think these tests may have shaped you? Or do you believe they have shaped you at all?
    I really liked that you ended off on the question of why standardized testing is still occurring, do you have any thoughts as to why it is, when there are so many downfalls to them?

  2. ashtonmills says:

    Thanks for the comment, Christine! In response to your questions -as noted in lecture, many of us in the education program could be considered “good students.” While I definitely stressed about tests, I either did well, or understood why I did not. Even though my experience with standardized testing definitely wasn’t traumatic, I understand that it can be for other learners, and that’s part of the reason I disagree with it. In terms of why standardized testing is still occurring, I’m not sure! I guess that while it is not an accurate way of depicting a school’s performance, it is the easiest way. This may be why we resort to it rather than using more differentiated types of evaluation. What do you think?

    • cmartinuk2014 says:

      That’s a great comment that it is for sure the easiest way for a student to be tested of what they know. I however agree with you, and say there are many other ways of assessing and evaluating students. In my classroom I fully plan to resort to other methods of understanding what the students know. I also believe that as teachers, it is our responsibility to raise awareness of the negative sides of standardized testing to the public. Do you have any other suggestions or ways that as educators we can try to move away from standardized testing?

  3. ashtonmills says:

    I completely agree with you about raising awareness and finding other means of assessing! I think it’s definitely tough to try and change standardized testing, though. While we may believe it is not the best option, parents and people with more authority may think differently. However, I know that in my classroom I am leaning towards using a mixture of assessments. I would like to assess students through observing their experiences, rather than just testing them. In order to make this happen, it will be important to get the parents on board by showing them what their students are learning and why it is relevant. Have you considered the types of assessment you will use?

    • cmartinuk2014 says:

      I think the methods for your assessment sound very encouraging! and will benefit your students a lot more than standardized testing ever would. I agree that a variety of assessments/evaluations is necessary for students. I believe that having final projects is a great way to finalize and wrap up what they know. As well as, quizzes, group work, observing, experimenting, etc!

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