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YES: Students should be requiredto take standardized tests1.3Should students be required totake standardized tests?You decide!1.1DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:1. Do you believe that the standardized tests you've taken have measuredsomething meaningful?2. How strong is the evidence that standardized test questions are likely tobe unfairly biased?3. If you don't like standardized tests, do you have an alternative suggestionfor how to compare teachers and students in a way that is fair?4. Both sides of this debate argue that their side helps marginalized groups.Which of these arguments do you find more persuasive, and why?NO: Students should NOT berequired to take standardizedtests1.2Standardized tests maynot accurately measureanything useful2.1Standardized testscores are easilyinfluenced by outsidefactors: stress,hunger, tiredness,and prior teacher orparent commentsabout the difficulty ofthe test, among otherfactors3.1Stereotypes cannegatively influencescores: “researchindicates that beingtargeted by well-known stereotypes(‘blacks areunintelligent,’ ‘Latinosperform poorly ontests,’ ‘girls can’t domath’ and so on) canbe threatening tostudents in profoundways"3.2Students are testedon grade-appropriatematerial, but they arenot re-tested todetermine if theyhave learnedinformation theytested poorly on theyear before3.3Standardized testingresults are sometimesinconsistent acrossthe same teacher andmultiple classes3.4Standardized testscan be unfairly biased2.2Test designers haverelied on questionswhich assumebackgroundknowledge moreoften held by White,middle-class students3.5Wealthy kids tend tohave higherstandardized testscores, in part due todifferences in braindevelopment causedby factors such as“access to enrichingeducationalresources, and…exposure to spokenlanguage andvocabulary early inlife”3.6GPA can be a betterpredictor of futuresuccess thanstandardized tests2.3High school GPA wasa much strongerpredictor ofgraduating collegethan ACT scores,according to a studyof 55,084 Chicagopublic schoolstudents3.7Among students withsimilar SAT or ACTscores, those withhigher high schoolGPAs are much morelikely to graduate. Butamong students withsimilar high schoolGPAs, no strongrelationship existsbetween SAT or ACTscores andgraduation rates3.8Earning good gradesrequires consistentbehaviors over time—showing up to classand participating,turning inassignments, takingquizzes, etc.—whereas studentscould do well on atest even if they donot have themotivation andperseverance neededto achieve goodgrades3.9Standardized testsoffer the mostobjectivemeasurement ofstudents' abilities2.4Teachers' gradingpractices are naturallyuneven andsubjective3.10Objectivemeasurements ofstudents' abilities arenecessary to improveeducational systemsand promote fairness2.5Many states anddistricts usestandardized testingdata to assess andimprove theeffectiveness of theireducation programs3.11States and schooldistricts use testscores to show howmuch each teacherhas helped studentsmaster core concepts,and identifyunderperformingteachers3.12Standardized testingdata can helpstudents inmarginalized groups2.6Standardized testinghas helped studentswith disabilities andEnglish learners bycreating appropriateaccommodations andmodifications forthese populations,and shining a light onwhere they have notbeen well served bytheir schools3.13Standardized testing isessential for protectingcivil rights, byidentifying schools thatare inadequatelysupporting students ofcolor3.14Standardized testscores make collegeadmissions more fairfor students fromdisadvantagedbackgrounds, sincethese tests are theone thing that cannotbe "bought" orheavily influenced byparents with money3.15Contrary to popularopinion, there is nopeer-reviewedscientific evidencethat coaching canreliably provide morethan a modest boostin test scores4.1The College Boardhas worked hard toeliminate "coachable"test items, andprovides free tutoringand practice materialsfor all students4.2Standardized testsallow high-abilitycandidates fromdisadvantagedbackgrounds to beadvised on how totake advantage offinancial aidprograms to apply toand attend betterschools than theywould otherwise4.3In surveys, Americansoverwhelminglysupport colleges' useof standardized teststo screen applicants,even though theythink other aspects ofcollege admissionsare unfair4.4Standardized testsscores are goodpredictors of collegeand career success2.7Tests creategravitational pulltoward higherachievement3.16Research hasconsistently foundthat ability tests likethe SAT and the ACTare stronglypredictive of successin college andbeyond, even afteraccounting for astudent’ssocioeconomic status3.17Research also showsthat interventionsthat help studentsimprove test scoresare linked to betteradult outcomes suchas collegeattendance, higherincomes, and theavoidance of riskybehaviors3.18BACKGROUND:The quality of education can vary wildly across schools, so people turn tostandardized testing in order to compare students and teachers across district,state, and country lines and predict future performance. Especially since thepandemic, where virtual education has taken the world by storm, standardizedtesting can potentially be useful to identify how much "learning loss" hasoccurred and compare virtual school versus in-person school. Proponents ofstandardized testing argue that it does a good job measuring what it issupposed to, while opponents argue that many standardized tests areineffective or biased.1.4

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