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Standardized Testing

            Based on my own experiences throughout high school there were many problems that I saw in my school and others. One problem that I think had the most impact on my educational career was the amount of standardized tests given. It seemed to me that all the schools, teachers, and students were all focused on preparing for the standardized tests; such as SAT's or the Regents in New York State, and not focusing on the art of learning, creativity and so on. I learned that these standardized tests are increasingly being used to determine not oly whether students get diplomas bu also whether the school gets funding and teachers get raises "not to mention whether students will spend their upcoming vacation sunning on the beach or sweating out summer school.
             Over the years, psychometricians (professional test preparers) have learned a lot about how to create standardized tests that truly measure the knowledge and skills they claim they are measuring. In other words these tests are valid. These standardized tests are also reliable. This implies for example, that the same person taking a different form of the test will tend to make close to the same score. Both validity and reliability are the key components of testing fairness. Any test is a sampling device. The main reason that a good objective, standardized test is fairer than a good performance test is that, for a test of reasonable length, a good standardized test can probe a much larger and more representative sample of the subject (domain) being sampled. If a domain is a skill, the objective test will be able to sample a larger and more representative variety of factors that make up the skill. A performance test of writing, for example may only cover one or two genres (kinds) of writing (e.g. narrative, persuasive), whereas an objective test can sample five or six. If a content (knowledge) domain is being tested, then a good standardized test can sample a bigger portion of the whole domain than can a performance test which takes the same amount of time to complete.

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