Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Testing/Tracking Debate

cchezik's picture


WilliamG's picture

2nd period Cons

Testing is not an equalizing opportunity. White, wealthy students that attend elite private or well-funded public schools generally score better on standardized tests—regardless of natural ability. One reason for this is that standardized test questions are biased to white culture. Additionally, testing is not equalizing because those who score lower are not given additional education to become equal—they are merely placed in lower tracks, discouraged from having high educational aspirations, etc. Thus, testing effectively widens educational gaps.

Testing hurts schools too because they force teachers to abandon their desired curriculum and teach for the sake of getting better test scores. Finally, the government may blame schools for low test scores when the real problems may be school underfunding, administrative flaws, etc.  

ZamirW's picture

2nd Period con

I agree to the above the statement. It seem as if that it is true that standardized tests are white biased tests. Usually you see that students who are affluent are the ones who get good grades. I believe that the environment plays a big role on how good the student would do. Wealthy students are usually in good environments so they seem to do better. That is not equal at all. Every student should be in a good environment when testing.

RamintaH's picture

2nd Period Con

The important point to focus on here is the idea that standardized tests are biased.  While it's true that affluent students tend to score higher on the tests, the Pro team might suggest that perhaps affluent students simply learn more and the tests help identify this inequality so we can address it.  A good Con response would be to emphasize that, since tests are biased toward affluent white students, the misrepresent the differences in academic capabilities.  When test scores are this misleading, inappropriate decisions might be made based on them (like putting perfectly smart students into low tracks because they scored poorly on a biased test).

gloudon's picture

3rd Period Pros

Standardized testing can level the playing field for students coming from different schools.  For example, when applying to college some students may be graduating from an elite private high school while others are applying from an average public school.  Although the classes and extra curricular acitivies offered may be different,  standardized tests like the SAT or ACT provide all students with the opportunity demonstrate their abilites on the same test.

FarrahK's picture

3rd Period Pros

With the amount of diversity that defines American classrooms testing in public schools provides a venue for students to be evaluated on the basis of their abilities, and not on the basis of social origin. Standardized testing acts as an equalizer for influences of race and class to be put aside because all students are measured in the same manner with the same test. These tests identify which students need extra help in a manner that is efficient and pragmatic for both the student, teacher, and school. Even though outcomes are unequal, testing assesses growth on a standard scale so no one child can be left behind and that teachers and schools can be held accountable for making sure a standard of learning is taking place for each child. Testing identifies schools that may need more help so that they can be the best they can be within their potential. 

Michael M.'s picture

3rd Period Pro

I agree with everything that you've said but to make this argument stronger, we should talk about how laziness can affect the way a student performs on a test. No matter were environment you came from whether it was rich or poor, you can't do good in life while being in that state of mood. If you don't have the amount of money, research programs that are free that can benefit you. For example, I attend at this program called Upward Bound and it has really made an impact on my educational skills. You need to have self-help which leads to self-motivation to help achieve your struggles. If you feel that you're in a lower class, don't worry about that. Start small and work your way up to the top.

sully04's picture

3rd Period Pros

One of the most important aspects of testing is that it allows us to set a benchmarks for schools. If a school is failing, testing is a good way to indicate that students are not getting what they need and to hold schools accountable for teaching at a higher level. With so many schools in our country, the most cost effectrive and efficient way to hold schools to the same standard is to test all students on the same material.

Charnelle S.'s picture

3rd period Pro

This statement is true because with out test how are the school and teachers know if the students are learning. this is a every effective method. Since the school's purpose is to teach student, then this is one of many ways that they can do this.

RachelK's picture

2nd period Pros

Testing allows us to see what a student's academic levels and abilities are compared to his classmates. It is an easy way to compare the abilities of students since it uses numbers instead of possibly biased written reports. Testing also does not take away from other abilities a student may have, like speaking skills. It is only one way of many for measuring a student's abilities.

Students may come to kindergarten with different levels of knowledge, but they all learn the same thing in kindergarten. This would place the students in the same playing field, especially since they spend an entire day in a classroom together. In the classroom they are able to learn information they may not have learned at home and we can measure their abilities starting from there.

Rita D.'s picture

2nd Period Pros

I absolutely agree with your statements. I also want to add that testing allow for teachers to assess the students and find out who might need more help and who needs less attention. Testing also allow students to prove themselves worthy. This way no one will use the race card or social card as an playing field.