Why Standardized Tests Don’t Make Sense

We’ve all heard so many arguments for and against standardized testing in the US. Many think they’re forcing our students to steer away from their creativity in favor of getting better test scores.

Others think they’re a good way to show the world that our students are competitive in a variety of subjects, especially the STEM subjects. This infographic below showcases an argument that standardized tests don’t make sense. Keep reading to find out more.

A Few Highlights:

  • US students are the most tested students in the world.
  • Studies show standardized testing positively affects student achievement despite a lack of improvement in test scores since the 1970’s.
  • School spending for standardized testing has increased dramatically in recent years, and many private businesses make huge profits from testing.
  • All fifty states define ‘proficient’ differently.
  • More students than ever are dropping out of high school.
  • The majority of students are not considered proficient in science, american history, and writing.

standardized testing infographic



  1. Kevin L. Payton

    January 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Great article with good information. I think this was written before the common core curriculum was approved in 48 of the 50 states. The common core was design for high school graduates to be college ready in all the states.

  2. John W. Blase

    January 2, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I disagree with the conclusion of the headline. It’s not that standardized tests don’t make sense – it’s that most educators have no idea what to do with the information. Most teachers I’ve worked with and supervised think that if a student has a low test score, it’s that the student didn’t learn the skills, when in reality, the teachers didn’t teach it!

    Standardized results only do good if the system values the information more than just the number of the score. The fact that states lower the bar needed for proficiency isn’t a problem with the test or the testing, it’s a problem with the politicians for lowering expectations.

    As for some of the other data (dropout rates, Pearson’s costs/profits), it doesn’t mean anything with regards to the argument for or against standardized testing. Poor argumentation… But then again, maybe the authors never took the ACT writing test… an argumentation exam!

  3. Tom O'Donahoo

    January 2, 2013 at 4:47 am

    No one will argue that stardardised testing is important for ensuring that governments and educatiors have an objective measure of teaching outcomes. This data is then supposedly used to acknowledge areas of strength or shortfall and shift resources accordingly. The irony is that standardised testing by its nature rarely is rarely able to adequately asses a students command of language and reasoning capability. Students – having done hunderds of these tests – konw that the best way to study for these test, is to do them. So our new way of educating is by endlessly testing them, either by their own volition or by our educators. No wonder students arent able to produce responses that show and analaytical command of concepts – many have probably never looked into them in greater depth than can be written in a couple of lines of questions.

    With the current trend of comparable standards of assement outcomes and the ‘commercialisation’ of assesment any educator will be hard pressed to find any soloution that will help their students. Firstly the students arent interested because developing an intrinsic understanding of the corriculum is by no means an economic way of getting the best test scores. The teachers aren’t intersted because they are now judged almost solely on their students performance in these tests. And schools simply don’t have the cash necessary to persue any form of tests that require big labour hours to mark.

    It will be interesting to see how long this process goes on unitll our industries and universitites finds themselves with supposedly talented students that are incapable of solving complex, analytical and challenging problems requiring deeper though.

  4. paulmcc

    January 3, 2013 at 10:59 am

    On-Line Universites brought this article to you and they have no veste interest in undermining the current model at all.