Bubbling In Against Public Opinion

Within recent years standardized testing has fallen victim of much scrutiny; Scrutiny that is as toxic as it is uneducated. Although there exists blatant cons to standardized testing, we often overlook a plethora of constructive, and vital, aspects of the tests we’ve come to despise.

Standardized testing and it’s trademark ‘bubble’ sheets.

Standardized tests. By merely hearing these words, the minds of students (and even parents) everywhere erupt into manic agitation. Standardized testing becomes associated with terror; Often becoming labeled “obsolete” or “unjust”. Fortunately for students like you and me, these claims are as inane and uneducated as the people writing them. Standardized testing, as much as it is tedious, offers many unparalleled advantages: A crucial benchmark for knowledge that every future adult should know, An organized way of globalizing knowledge in a globalizing world, and an unbiased way of quantifying knowledge. Without these pivotal aspects in our education system, the US would fall even deeper in the abyss of educational failure.

“We’re passionate about making a difference in all we do. Whether it’s guiding students along their learning paths, enabling companies to develop their workforce, fostering parent, teacher, and counselor understanding of student progress, guiding job seekers toward career success, or informing policymakers about education and workforce issues.” — ACT, the makers of a common standardized test

Standardized tests offer a convenient way of ranking students across the nation by providing a benchmark of knowledge. This benchmark is imperative, as it sets a definitive standard of knowledge that includes skills and information necessary to thrive in our modern world. The competitiveness in our globalizing world has soared to gargantuan levels — And there is no sign of deceleration in the near future. And naturally, competition provokes the continuous growth of our standard of knowledge.

As famous author and professor at UCLA, Val D. Rust, says in his book: “Higher education institutions are increasingly required to compete with each other (‘other’ referring international companies)”, education is directly correlated with international competitiveness, and thus, success. In such a globalizing, demanding world — Is it not fair to make sure all of our future adults have the same standard of mandatory knowledge? A standard of understanding of math, sciences, writing, reading and of language? Indubitably. And this idea is but one of the main premises behind standardized testing; Standardized testing gives sets the standard — And gets everybody up-to-date while doing so.

Every year, millions of young Americans line up at their local schools early in the weekend morning to take one of the many standardized tests: The ACT, SAT, etc. The more intelligent individuals excel; Scoring tremulously. These individuals are already there. They’ve already boarded the train of knowledge; The train that leads to a bright future. But for those individuals who leave their testing zone with deep dread, having failed miserably, let me assure you they have not gone without reward. These individuals are bestowed with a precedent: A precedent that enables the individual to learn the material for the test(s) in order to perhaps be accepted into their college/university of choice. The standardized test just successfully built a higher standard of knowledge for the individual — And thus through larger quantity: The standard of knowledge of the nation, and of the future.

Standardized Testing spreads learning; It ensures a student in California is learning what a student in Boston is learning. In short, it globalizes learning. How fitting for a globalizing world.
Education and globalization.

As previously mentioned, our world is globalizing at an unprecedented exponential rate. Globalization being defined as the rate in which all countries around the world are slowly becoming more and more uniform in terms of business, tradition and education. As Mike Collins, an innovative writer for the world famous Forbes magazine explains, this rapid globalization is increasing competitiveness, and thus the need for more advanced education. Through blatant logic, one can conclude that a country will naturally strive to become more and more educated and economically powerful. That being said, how can we become more intelligent, and thus powerful, to meet the global standards if our youth has a vast distribution of knowledge? How can our entire future workforce compete with Europe, or Asia? The answer is frank and simple. We cannot. Thus, we must enact a baseline, a test, a standard of knowledge that ensures our global readiness. This is where standardized testing, and tests such as the ACT or SAT, come into play.

Much like standardized testing’s ability to give students’ a guideline for success, standardized testing offers teachers a guideline for what needs to be learned. — The Highly regarded Columbia University

Through a mere google search, you can discover that many notable, and legendary, universities and colleges agree with this claim as well; The claim that standardized testing offers crucial structure and guidance to teachers who already play an arduous role in society. Every sane individual would unanimously agree that teachers are important; They’re the gatekeepers who unlock the door of wisdom. Society would be undefinable without them. This being said, it’s naturally important that our teachers are educating at their maximum capacity; Our gatekeepers opening as many doors as they can. Some may open too many, some too few. This vast asymmetry in teachers’ performances creates inequality and thus a damaging variation of the circulation of knowledge. Luckily, standardized testing solves exactly that. Standardized testing creates a practical yet challenging regimen of material that students are asked to master. It is the teachers duty to then teach said material, but luckily for them, some of the difficulty, burden, has been lifted from their crumbling shoulders. By doing so, we’re augmenting the effectiveness of our teachers’ teaching abilities. In short, standardized testing gives ease to teachers, obliterates the ‘grey area’ in teaching, and gives every adolescent the chance to thrive by ensuring the utmost, unbiased, and identical regime.

Discrimination in the classroom.

Admittedly, this ‘regime’ so to say, like everything, is not perfect. Standardized testing has fallen ill to a barrage of critiques in recent years. One cannot deny that a portion of these critiques are very real, but fortunately, an extensive amount of this scrutiny is but hypothetical nonsense. A prominent slam on standardized testing is that the tests are “discriminatory against non English speakers and students with special needs”, but these flagrant claims couldn’t stray farther from the nest of truth.

With but a simple google search one can discover the multitude of testing accommodations that famous standardized testing companies offer to students of all types of disables; Ranging from mental, to physical, to both. For example, according to the official ACT website, act.org, ACT states they strive to accommodate “all types of learners and individuals”. This accommodation varies from extended time (so much so that test takers return to finish their exams another day) all the way to having sign language translators in the ‘testing zone’ for direct translation. The ACT even offers specific tests in braille for test takers with vision impairments. Of course the ACT isn’t alone, for other popular standardized test companies such as the infamous ‘SAT’ offer a myriad of test options as well. SAT accommodations include auditory text speech, alternate test formats, more breaks, and many more reasonable adjustments. With all of this being said, how could one claim standardized tests are discriminatory when but a simple odyssey on ones computer, or even mobile device, can easily prove them otherwise? It’s profoundly simple, they cannot.

The success of standardized tests.

Through authoritative evidence and unassailable logic, it is very obvious that standardized testing is the recipient of much more criticism that it deserves. The tests’ motivate students to learn important information and topics while giving much needed guidance to teachers. By ensuing every student from California to Boston understands certain critical topics, standardized testing propels our country through the ranks of education whilst ensuring a powerful global presence. With America falling behind in test scores concerning math and science, the time is now to veer from blaming standardized testing. Let’s unite as a people and be more precise, useful and progressive…kind of like a standardized test.

Sapere aude! — Horace