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A student sits uncomfortably in his desk. Silence surrounds him. He nervously grasps his number two pencil. He glances to the clock. Time is running out. He knows he could answer this problem if he had time to solve it, but he does not. Frustrated he quickly leans forward and fills in a random circle. Three months later he receives the results to his test. All he hears is a number, if anything. Unlike the tests his teacher normally gives, he cannot go back and see what he did wrong. The score is not the greatest, but he does not care. He ignores it thinking, "At least it's not for a grade. It doesn't matter". I remember countless situations like these unfolding in front of me. They are anything but pleasant experiences, yet millions of kids around the country go through this every day while undertaking standardized tests.

The idea behind standardized testing came about in the early twentieth century. Such tests were the results of the "school efficiency movement". The original idea came from Franklin Bobbit, who applied Fredrick Taylor's factory management principals to schools. This idea attempted to convert intellectual standards to numbers. These numbers were created not to help students, but to impress parents and businessmen (Wiggins 705). For years standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT have been used to help determine what students may enter what colleges. Recently, the amount of standardized testing that is done has greatly increased. Almost every school district in the nation. Over 100 million tests are given every year. This costs the nation an average of $700 million to $900 million annually (Wagner). Today politicians in Washington DC are debating a national standardized testing program (Kirchoff). In Russia, Germany, and Japan, a single test determines how far a student can go in school.

With all this standardized testing around us, one might think that standardized tests work well and they should be continued. This is completely untrue. Standardized testing should not be a weighing factor in student assessment. They are not an accurate measure of student knowledge. Also, incentive programs based on standardized tests do not help schools do better. In addition, they hinder rather than help students learn. Overall, standardized testing should not be used to assess student performance, nor should they be used as incentives for schools and students to do better.

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