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Are standardized tests effective?
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Standardized tests provide opportunities for students

For students in large schools, standardized tests act as a way for particularly motivated students to stand out among the crowd.
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Standardized tests have been around for quite awhile. Written exams were originally introduced in European education in the 18th century after the Jesuits had discovered the concept in China. Adding written exams into the curriculum was meant to increase difficulty and competitiveness.[1] In the 1840s, America followed suit, giving written exams in the place of the typical oral examinations of the time.[2] 1900 saw the establishment of the College Entrance Examination Board. Fast forward 120 years and most developed countries have some form of standardized tests.

The Argument

Standardized testing allows for certain students to stand out from the crowd. Even at a public school with thousands of students, highly motivated students who perform well on those tests are more able to stand out. The tests provide an opportunity for students to show-off, so to speak, especially if their school doesn't offer opportunities for distinguishable achievements such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes, International Baccalaureate curriculum, or dual-credit classes.[3] It also helps distinguish students who didn't place high in their class rankings. In America, several colleges put huge emphasis on what a student's class ranking is when considering college applications. The exclusive colleges tend to look at the top 10% of students. This would seem like a fair assessment of a student's achievements, but what if the student's school has a large percentage of talented classmates? Or what if the class size is very small, making the top 10% composed of just a handful of students? Standardized tests allow for students in that position to stand out without being in the top 10%.[3]

Counter arguments

Standardized tests are meant to be an assessment of intelligence. While the tests do offer an opportunity for students to stand out, it's the students who're intelligent in test-taking. It rewards students who are good at test-taking and punishes those who are not.


[P1] Standardized tests are required in most developed countries. [P2] Standardized tests assess student success. [P3] They allow for successful students to stand out.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Standardized testing isn't the sole measurement of student success.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 9 Apr 2020 at 12:12 UTC

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