As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

PROS

  • Every student measured against same narrow, irrelevant set of standards
  • Holds teachers personally accountable for success of large, monolithic testing organizations
  • Western tradition of critical thinking best embodied in bubble-sheet format
  • Keeps students quiet for upwards of 90 minutes
  • Repeated testing carefully develops teachers’ cheating skills
  • Only biased against kids who couldn’t afford college anyway
  • Data. More data.

CONS

  • There are easier ways to measure parents’ income
  • Takes up time that could be used to teach toward additional standardized tests
  • Standardized test–scoring machines kill and maim more than 200 workers annually
  • Allows U.S. students to be compared with those of other developed nations
  • Fails to measure attractiveness, which will have far greater impact on future success or failure
  • Students may in fact become too prepared for future
  • Probably could be more profitable

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