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Old 03-05-2021, 08:47 PM
 
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Why is it that, especially on this forum, people seem so opposed to standardized tests, especially the SAT? Standardized tests are the only thing that judges everybody based on a common yardstick. Even within the same school, different teachers grade very differently. When I point that out, I’m just told that “life isn’t fair”. So, why aren’t kids who underperform on standardized tests told that “life isn’t fair”, just like students who get stuck with hard teachers are told? Or, if standardized tests are truly unfair, and if something needs to be done about it, why isn’t there also an attempt to make grading more uniform between teachers?
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
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Beats me. I always excelled at standardized tests although it was a double-edged sword that got me into a lot of high-end classes that required a lot of work.
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:11 PM
 
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I have several reasons. In no particular order.

a. They can be gamed. There is a method to how standardized tests are designed and students who are coached on "how to take standardized tests" can raise their score significantly. Not that they actually know more or are smarter, but that they've been coached on tricks. Even our local elementary schools spend a significant amount of time on "how to take the test" rather than on learning the material.

b. They are tailor made for "teaching to the test." This leads a lot of schools to focus on what is tested rather than what the kids need to know. Let's say a subject requires you to know topics A, B, C, D, E, and F. The test however primarily focuses on topics A, C, and D. The school will spend most of their time on A, C, and D, while minimizing time on B, E, and F. During part of my career I worked as a SME to a course development effort. It started with designing the assessment, the "test" if you will, then designed the course to teach what was on the test. All of us who acted as SMEs were frustrated about how much material was left out because it wasn't going to be tested.

c. Many of the "pick the most correct" type questions depend on the student interpreting the question the same way the test writer did. Different interpretation can lead to a different answer. A good example of this was after i left the service I took the Praxis test. A lot of the questions were of the "pick the most correct" variety. On quite a few questions I had specific expertise from my time in the service where I knew what the actual correct answer was. And also knew there was a generally accepted, but technically wrong answer. So my dilemma was which to pick: the technically correct, but not popularly understood answers or the technically wrong, but popular answer. I solved that dilemma by asking myself "what would a teacher teach in school?" then selected all the technically wrong answers. Aced the test. A good example of that kind of question is "how does an airplane generate lift?" The most common answers in school textbooks are wrong.

d. A standardized test is one data point when it comes to individual students. While it may be somewhat statistically valid across a population, we tend to use standardized tests to predict individual capabilities. As an engineer, would you use one data point to determine the strength of a material?

e. In terms of "fairness" most tests don't tend to be major life events. But tests like the SAT, GRE, and others can determine your whole life by expanding or limiting your options based on that one test. It's those high stakes that make the fairness issue more crucial.
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Plano, TX
919 posts, read 2,176,567 times
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People are opposed to standardized tests because it gives an opportunity to those that are more prepared, whether through long term effort, studying, or cramming.

People are lazy and don't want to work.

People don't want to give up any privilege that they are uncomfortable about having that is unearned.

The fairest thing for any poor minority kid to make it out is the standardized test.

However, the standardized test doesn't pick and choose people that fit a particular agenda.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Itinerant
8,278 posts, read 5,406,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I have several reasons. In no particular order.

a. They can be gamed. There is a method to how standardized tests are designed and students who are coached on "how to take standardized tests" can raise their score significantly. Not that they actually know more or are smarter, but that they've been coached on tricks. Even our local elementary schools spend a significant amount of time on "how to take the test" rather than on learning the material.

b. They are tailor made for "teaching to the test." This leads a lot of schools to focus on what is tested rather than what the kids need to know. Let's say a subject requires you to know topics A, B, C, D, E, and F. The test however primarily focuses on topics A, C, and D. The school will spend most of their time on A, C, and D, while minimizing time on B, E, and F. During part of my career I worked as a SME to a course development effort. It started with designing the assessment, the "test" if you will, then designed the course to teach what was on the test. All of us who acted as SMEs were frustrated about how much material was left out because it wasn't going to be tested.

c. Many of the "pick the most correct" type questions depend on the student interpreting the question the same way the test writer did. Different interpretation can lead to a different answer. A good example of this was after i left the service I took the Praxis test. A lot of the questions were of the "pick the most correct" variety. On quite a few questions I had specific expertise from my time in the service where I knew what the actual correct answer was. And also knew there was a generally accepted, but technically wrong answer. So my dilemma was which to pick: the technically correct, but not popularly understood answers or the technically wrong, but popular answer. I solved that dilemma by asking myself "what would a teacher teach in school?" then selected all the technically wrong answers. Aced the test. A good example of that kind of question is "how does an airplane generate lift?" The most common answers in school textbooks are wrong.

d. A standardized test is one data point when it comes to individual students. While it may be somewhat statistically valid across a population, we tend to use standardized tests to predict individual capabilities. As an engineer, would you use one data point to determine the strength of a material?

e. In terms of "fairness" most tests don't tend to be major life events. But tests like the SAT, GRE, and others can determine your whole life by expanding or limiting your options based on that one test. It's those high stakes that make the fairness issue more crucial.
^^^^

This.

It encourages people to be taught, or trained to pass a test, not to properly educate or train them. Testing also fails people who don't perform well under quite sterile conditions, its quite unusual that you're ever going to be in a position to solve issues without reference materials for example.

Standardized testings single benefit is that it's easier to evaluate, and then argue its representative of real world performance than to evaluate real world performance.

It's not even about prep, I have excellent retention and recall, and did very well in examinations with virtually no prep. Anyone who's been to University knows the people who put in little effort and ace tests, that was me. That's one of the reasons I find Standardized testing as ineffectual at measuring actual performance or potential.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:50 AM
 
16,356 posts, read 12,612,701 times
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Being educated should be about more than just memorizing a bunch of rote facts and then coughing them up. If students are measured using only memorization and recall, then that incentivizes teachers to teach this method. Particularly in the 21st century when a lot of things can be Googled, rote fact memorization is more useless than it has ever been. There is a lot more value in being able to deliberate about the information available, solve problems, and make decisions under uncertainty, versus just memorizing and coughing things back up.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:16 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
8,549 posts, read 12,488,807 times
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I agree with Gungnir that tnff's response, below, is the best so far, especially point c, the bolded in particular.

In short, "standardized" tests are not so standardized after all, are they.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I have several reasons. In no particular order.

a. They can be gamed. There is a method to how standardized tests are designed and students who are coached on "how to take standardized tests" can raise their score significantly. Not that they actually know more or are smarter, but that they've been coached on tricks. Even our local elementary schools spend a significant amount of time on "how to take the test" rather than on learning the material.

b. They are tailor made for "teaching to the test." This leads a lot of schools to focus on what is tested rather than what the kids need to know. Let's say a subject requires you to know topics A, B, C, D, E, and F. The test however primarily focuses on topics A, C, and D. The school will spend most of their time on A, C, and D, while minimizing time on B, E, and F. During part of my career I worked as a SME to a course development effort. It started with designing the assessment, the "test" if you will, then designed the course to teach what was on the test. All of us who acted as SMEs were frustrated about how much material was left out because it wasn't going to be tested.

c. Many of the "pick the most correct" type questions depend on the student interpreting the question the same way the test writer did. Different interpretation can lead to a different answer. A good example of this was after i left the service I took the Praxis test. A lot of the questions were of the "pick the most correct" variety. On quite a few questions I had specific expertise from my time in the service where I knew what the actual correct answer was. And also knew there was a generally accepted, but technically wrong answer. So my dilemma was which to pick: the technically correct, but not popularly understood answers or the technically wrong, but popular answer. I solved that dilemma by asking myself "what would a teacher teach in school?" then selected all the technically wrong answers. Aced the test. A good example of that kind of question is "how does an airplane generate lift?" The most common answers in school textbooks are wrong.

d. A standardized test is one data point when it comes to individual students. While it may be somewhat statistically valid across a population, we tend to use standardized tests to predict individual capabilities. As an engineer, would you use one data point to determine the strength of a material?

e. In terms of "fairness" most tests don't tend to be major life events. But tests like the SAT, GRE, and others can determine your whole life by expanding or limiting your options based on that one test. It's those high stakes that make the fairness issue more crucial.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:08 AM
 
5,981 posts, read 5,845,102 times
Reputation: 3830
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I have several reasons. In no particular order.

a. They can be gamed. There is a method to how standardized tests are designed and students who are coached on "how to take standardized tests" can raise their score significantly. Not that they actually know more or are smarter, but that they've been coached on tricks. Even our local elementary schools spend a significant amount of time on "how to take the test" rather than on learning the material.
But which teacher you get can also be gamed. Like I said, at my high school, whether or not you got into an Ivy League school basically came down to whether you had the easy or hard AP bio teacher. Some students would game the system by signing up for an elective that conflicted with the hard teacher’s class. I touched it out with the hard teacher, and I got screwed.

Quote:
b. They are tailor made for "teaching to the test." This leads a lot of schools to focus on what is tested rather than what the kids need to know. Let's say a subject requires you to know topics A, B, C, D, E, and F. The test however primarily focuses on topics A, C, and D. The school will spend most of their time on A, C, and D, while minimizing time on B, E, and F. During part of my career I worked as a SME to a course development effort. It started with designing the assessment, the "test" if you will, then designed the course to teach what was on the test. All of us who acted as SMEs were frustrated about how much material was left out because it wasn't going to be tested.

c. Many of the "pick the most correct" type questions depend on the student interpreting the question the same way the test writer did. Different interpretation can lead to a different answer. A good example of this was after i left the service I took the Praxis test. A lot of the questions were of the "pick the most correct" variety. On quite a few questions I had specific expertise from my time in the service where I knew what the actual correct answer was. And also knew there was a generally accepted, but technically wrong answer. So my dilemma was which to pick: the technically correct, but not popularly understood answers or the technically wrong, but popular answer. I solved that dilemma by asking myself "what would a teacher teach in school?" then selected all the technically wrong answers. Aced the test. A good example of that kind of question is "how does an airplane generate lift?" The most common answers in school textbooks are wrong.
That is true, but teacher-written exams have the same problem. Standardized tests at least have everybody taking the same “unfair” exam. But focusing on grades is basically random.

Quote:
d. A standardized test is one data point when it comes to individual students. While it may be somewhat statistically valid across a population, we tend to use standardized tests to predict individual capabilities. As an engineer, would you use one data point to determine the strength of a material?
No, but which teacher you get is basically a random lottery. Would you use a single random lottery to determine the strength of a material? If you want to argue that college admissions should just be a random lottery, then that’s a different issue.

Quote:
e. In terms of "fairness" most tests don't tend to be major life events. But tests like the SAT, GRE, and others can determine your whole life by expanding or limiting your options based on that one test. It's those high stakes that make the fairness issue more crucial.
But how is that any different from teacher-written tests?
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:09 AM
 
5,981 posts, read 5,845,102 times
Reputation: 3830
Quote:
Originally Posted by compSciGuy View Post
People are opposed to standardized tests because it gives an opportunity to those that are more prepared, whether through long term effort, studying, or cramming.

People are lazy and don't want to work.

People don't want to give up any privilege that they are uncomfortable about having that is unearned.

The fairest thing for any poor minority kid to make it out is the standardized test.

However, the standardized test doesn't pick and choose people that fit a particular agenda.
I agree.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:10 AM
 
5,981 posts, read 5,845,102 times
Reputation: 3830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gungnir View Post
^^^^

This.

It encourages people to be taught, or trained to pass a test, not to properly educate or train them. Testing also fails people who don't perform well under quite sterile conditions, its quite unusual that you're ever going to be in a position to solve issues without reference materials for example.

Standardized testings single benefit is that it's easier to evaluate, and then argue its representative of real world performance than to evaluate real world performance.

It's not even about prep, I have excellent retention and recall, and did very well in examinations with virtually no prep. Anyone who's been to University knows the people who put in little effort and ace tests, that was me. That's one of the reasons I find Standardized testing as ineffectual at measuring actual performance or potential.
That is all true. But how are teacher-written tests any different? Again, standardized testing at least means everybody taking the same flawed test. Grades are basically random.
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