Standardized testing has been around for many years and for as long as it has been around it has been considered a staple in the education system by many. It allows for an assessment of many aspects of the education system. Teachers and students alike are evaluated through these various standardized exams. They might regulate funding or reflect on specific teachers. These tests allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in order to get into private schools and eventually colleges. Evaluations like these can allow for better understanding of students and the school’s abilities. However, since they have started, the tests have had their critics. Many believe that they do not accurately portray the student as a whole and that far too much weight has been put on these scores. During this pandemic, many of these tests were postponed and canceled forcing schools to evaluate in other manners. Though the long term effects of this pause in testing are yet to be seen, I will be discussing their possible lasting impacts on potential changes in the education system.
Through the turbulence of education amidst a pandemic, students and schools have demonstrated that they can continue the process of education without these tests. For many months standardized testing was pushed back due to the pandemic and many students were unable to take whatever test the school may require, therefore forcing the colleges to no longer require these test scores on the applications. This allowed for everyone to be able to see the impact that lack of testing has on the education system. State standardized testing was also paused and may continue to be put on hold in the future. Many are interested to see how this impacts testing and admissions. Clearly, they were able to allocate funding in schools as well as admit students without this score. Whether these decisions were made accurately is not certain, however, it was able to be done without these tests.
Standardized testing has many advantages, as well as disadvantages for both students and institutions. One incredibly important factor in favor of standardized testing is the ability to allow students from less impressive schools or backgrounds to be seen. Many students across the country do well, but a strong grade point average from an elite school in New England usually holds more weight than someone with the same grade point average at a school that is perceived as lesser. Doing well on these tests can bring attention to a student who may not have received the same attention without their strong test scores. However, doing well on these tests frequently measures socioeconomic status more than anything. Having a tutor or parents that have the time and skills to help makes a massive difference in scores. Students obviously are able to achieve higher scores when they have the resources to so.
Testing for next year is still up in the air, but big names in colleges seem to be leaning away from requiring it. Rumors about Biden canceling State spring testing are also circulating. Much is unknown at this time and we perhaps will not have all the information now, but a couple of years down the road it will be fascinating to reflect on the change this pandemic caused; whether it is good or bad we will have a unique perspective on comparing enrollment within education to times with testing and to times without. This is incredibly important and may demonstrate an inherent value in the tests or it may demonstrate the futility in these kinds of testing once and for all.
No matter what opinion you may have on standardized testing it is beneficial to analyze the past year where they did not occur and were not required for the schools and universities. This pandemic once again has allowed us to uncover issues amidst education as a whole. While the circumstances are obviously far from ideal, it is necessary to capitalize on this unique opportunity to better education and the school system. Schools were able to choose their students based on traits beyond one or two scores. Now whether these assessments were fair or accurate is unknown at this point, but it will be quite interesting to reflect on these numbers surrounding admissions and funding once we reach some form of normal down the road. Perhaps the tests are of inherent value to the education and this time without them will illustrate this; or maybe this will be the beginning of the end of standardized testing as we know it.