AROUND THE BEND

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The Real Problem With Standardized Testing

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When it comes to school, people usually think of mean girls, cliques, evil administrators, the ungodly amounts of homework, and of course, standardized testing. Well maybe standardized testing isn’t exactly what comes to mind, but it is a big part of high school education and student life in general. Standardized testing is essential to student’s education, right? Maybe, maybe not. However you look at it, it is still a requirement in schools worldwide. However, should it be? Is standardized testing a good way to determine a student’s knowledge or is it a complete waste of time? Students are probably clueless when it comes to the history of standardized testing, mostly because they couldn’t care less about it. However, when you’re trying to understand the importance starts from learning about the history of it.
The earliest known use of standardized tests come from 7th century Imperial China where they were administered to job applicants and were built upon the applicant’s knowledge of Confucian Philosophy, a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion. Confucianism was built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendental ideals of traditional Chinese society, which was widespread until 1898. In the Western world, the Industrial Revolution directed school-age farm hands and factory workers back to the classroom. These standardized examinations that were implemented led to the newly expanded student body to be tested more frequently. Pretty interesting, right? I didn’t think so either, but it does get better. Government funding for student education ultimately costed about $1.1 billion in 2008. Combined with state and federal government spending on education that totals to $600 billion per year, while all-time philanthropic contributions to U.S. education total less than $10 billion, according to a 2011 statement by education philanthropist Bill Gates. Some people perceive the government spending millions on student education as a good thing. I mean, why not? It’s not like the government has anything better to do than waste money and make taxpayers pay even more for unnecessary tests.
The real problem with these standardized testing is not even the testing itself, but the way that some students in America, in less educated cities, are not given the same treatment in terms of funding education. Today’s current schooling in inner cities show 25% of students are at the proper reading level for their age or over, while only 5% of students are ready for college level reading by the time they graduate. If our government is so concerned about student’s welfare in education, then why is nothing being done about inner city schools where they need the most support? Our government has plenty of money to spare considering all the funding going into student education so why are they totally neglecting the schools that need it the most? This has been a problem for decades and state and local officials are the ones mainly responsible for student education. They all have addressed this issue, proving they understand the extent of it, yet the problem is still there and unless someone does something about it, it’s not going away anytime soon.
Usually, the arguments against standardized testing is that it creates a limited scope of learning and success, it only considers a single test performance upon evaluation, it evaluates student performance without considering external factors. These are all good reasons for why testing is bad for students, but I’m talking more about government problems that deal with education in less educated areas. The fundamental job of the government is to prevent or at least help the uneducated and not waste money on pointless tasks. Standardized testing definitely has problems on how it affects students, but main focus should be directed towards the individual student, who is in need of more support.

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