Should students be required to take standardized tests?

Background

Quality of education can vary wildly across schools, so people turn to standardized testing in order to compare students and teachers across district, state, and country lines and predict future performance. Especially since the pandemic, where virtual education has taken the world by storm, standardized testing can potentially be useful to identify how much “learning loss” has occurred and compare virtual school versus in-person school. Proponents of standardized testing argue that it does a good job measuring what it is supposed to, while opponents argue that many standardized tests are ineffective or biased.

Check out the maps below to see the arguments on both sides!

Discussion Questions

1. Do you believe that the standardized tests you’ve taken have measured something meaningful?
2. How strong is the evidence that standardized test questions are likely to be unfairly biased?
3. If you don’t like standardized tests, do you have an alternative suggestion for how to compare teachers and students in a way that is fair?
4. Both sides of this debate argue that their side helps students in marginalized groups. Which of these arguments do you find more persuasive, and why?

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