Task Force: Standardized Testing
You are members of your state board of education. You have been tasked with deciding if and how state standardized tests should change after the COVID pandemic.
Why Are We Doing This?
During the first year of the pandemic, many standardized tests were either canceled or made optional for students. In 2021, some tests returned, while others took on new formats. For example, the SAT announced it would be taken on the computer from now on. Students, teachers, and parents have long questioned whether standardized tests are the best way to measure student ability and progress, and now could be the perfect time to reimagine their role in the future.
- Research different sides of the argument about standardized testing
- What are the arguments for and against standardized testing?
- What is the intended purpose of standardized tests? Do they actually achieve that goal?
- What populations are potentially harmed by standardized testing? Who benefits?
- Next, decide if you will recommend continuing, ending, or reforming standardized testing.
- What evidence supports your proposal?
- Explain if and how your decision will change education in your state (how teachers choose what to teach, what would be different if schools and students don’t know their “ranking”, etc)
- Will there be any downsides to your proposal?
- How will your decision affect students in the future? (when they’re applying to college. If they move to a different state, etc).
- Think of how you will explain your decision to parents, teachers, and students.
- How do you think each of these groups will react to your proposal?
- Think through the possible objections that someone could have and how you would answer them.
Things to keep in mind
- You do not have to choose between keeping or canceling all types of standardized testing, you can suggest a “middle” option.
- You do not have to rely completely on arguments others have made, you can propose other reasons that testing is good or bad.
- Your suggestions should be realistic.