Standardized Testing vs Authentic Assessment in the Elementary and Junior High School Term Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Subject: Teaching
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #34751928

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Standardized testing vs. authentic assessment in the elementary and junior high school

The role of evaluation is one of the basic issues discussed in education today, which is of main concern. Assessment may be described as a method used to better know the present knowledge that a student has. This means that assessment can be as easy as a teacher's subjective judgment based on a single scrutiny of student performance, or as difficult as a five-hour standardized test. The notion of current knowledge means that what a student knows is always altering and that we can make decisions about student success by comparisons over a period of time. Assessment may have an effect on choices about grades, advancement, placement, instructional needs, and curriculum. (Dietel; Herman; Knuth, 1991) Many educationalists adhere to the idea that education should deal mainly with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Others mention the significance of teaching the whole child and know the requirement to assess personal knowledge and connected meanings. Constructivists understand that standard-orientation; standardized testing cannot sufficiently disclose authentic learning or knowledge. (McCarty; Davis, 1992)

Standardized test is utilized to calculate the performance of a group against that of a larger group. Standardized tests usually contain true/false or multiple-choice items, which are machine-scored. Setting up a standard for a large population of typical subjects and then calculating the feats of others against that norm decides achievements on standardized tests statistically. Standardized tests are generally used in major assessment projects, where the general results of the group are more essential than particular data of each individual customer. (Some Important Media Education Assessment Terms) The authenticity of standardized tests has been condemned on many bases. These tests calculate only the student's capacity to remember data or maybe having enough information to guess well. These tests show that a child forgot a problem but they give little knowledge as to whether it was a simple error or the lack of understanding. (McCarty; Davis, 1992)

Authentic-assessment advocates have long disapproved standardized tests, quarrelling that their intention is largely political, rather than educational. By preparing students to do completely on these tests, schools give emphasis to the skills kids really require. (Lehmann-Haupt,

"" 1997) They argue that traditional measures do not assess major learning outcomes and thus underestimate curriculum, instruction, and policy decisions. The higher the risk, the more is the stress on teachers and administrators to spend more and more time to train students to do well on the tests. As a result, closely concentrated tests that highlight remembrance have led to a similar tapering of the syllabus and stress on rote memorization of facts with little chance to perform higher-order thinking skills. The instant nature of the tests and their system of one right answer has made teachers to train students in answering unnaturally short texts and choosing the best answer rather than finding their own questions or answers. Their teaching practices are both unproductive and potentially harmful, when teachers teach to traditional tests by giving daily skill instruction in system that directly looks like tests, as they rely on outdated philosophy of learning and instruction. (Dietel; Herman; Knuth, 1991)

These standardized tests are not authentic. They are most helpful for coverage of collective information, and are minimally useful for classroom analysis and decisive reasons. 8 Both in the stuff and in course, standardized tests are generally censured as ethnically unsuitable for many groups. Censure of substance generally centers on the conflicting significance of the content to people from different cultures, for instance, newly arrived settlers can have larger complexity with an intelligence test which asks them to name past leaders of the country to which they have currently moved. A general censure of standardized testing programs in schools is that they support teachers to teach to the test. That is, teachers focus on the parts of the syllabus, which they know will be in the test and overlook those that will not. This censure is surely worth bearing in mind if teachers have prior knowledge of the test and the test is not complete. This danger can be prevented, if sufficient substitute forms of the test are given, if teachers do not know which form will be used, and if the forms give a complete sample of the syllabus. In spite the apparent danger of teaching to the test in certain conditions, though, little research has examined the occurrence of the trend, or its effects. (Standardized test)

Besides, any form of testing will upgrade teaching to the test if the results of testing are sincere. A connected censure is that students whose teachers teach them in test-taking skills not related to content would achieve better than same talented students whose teachers do not. Some easy test-taking talents can enhance marks on multiple-choice standardized tests. So this censure means a real threat, mainly if standardized tests are used as the exclusive assessments of accomplishment or talent. But, little research has found the occurrence or consequences of this teaching. Standardized tests are also censured for stressing remembrance and detection rather than higher-order cognitive talents. But, generally this censure is not applicable. While many standardized tests do stress remembrance and identification, many others assess analytical skills.

Another censure is that standardized tests evaluate insufficient part of talent. This criticism cannot genuinely be applicable for all standardized tests, but it can be used for the greater part of tests of any type. Much of the resistance to standardized tests has concentrated on the wrong use of these tests. In general, the use of standardized tests of academic success to find individual students is uncertain; given the tests dependability they are simply not correct enough to give sufficient assessments of individual students by themselves. In fact the most significant censure of standardized testing is that many standardized tests do not gather the standards of their own field. For instance, tests of adult literacy are broadly used though there is little proof that they evaluate literacy exactly. (Standardized test) Standardized tests concentrate on fundamental skills with the omission of critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving. Though success test scores are rising, there are growing proof to show poor performance on these higher order jobs. The more educationalists have scrutinized these problems, the more they have found the requirement for another method to assess the student and to record growth over the period of the term. (McCarty; Davis, 1992)

One main constituent of an assessment system is the alternative assessments. Alternative assessments deal with the talents and capacities required to execute actual tasks. Authentic assessment is a calculation method in which learning purposes are evaluated in the shortest, related means possible. Authentic assessments by it are criterion-based actions intended to encourage the combination of factual knowledge, higher-order understanding and relevant skills. Generally authentic assessments are based on working, necessitating students to use their knowledge in an expressive way. In authentic assessment, work requirements lead learning activities and are made clear to students before instruction. Normally, authentic assessment is a continuous process concerning both self and external evaluation as well as the steady collection of material into a holistic product. (Incorporating Authentic Assessment)

The overarching topic of authentic assessment is, as the term points out, authenticity. This drive connects both to the authenticity of the learning activity as well as the authenticity of the assessment. One point that is expressed all through the literature has to do with what makes an activity authentic. In occupational education circles, with the splendid history of laboratory-based learning, this point is much less difficult than in the more conventional academic areas. The problems of authenticity have become more significant as performance and authentic assessment have come more closely into the academic arena and as occupational and academic education have tried to work more directly together. (The Authenticity of Authentic Assessment: What the Research Says ... Or Doesn't Say)

In comparison to the earlier evaluative methods, evaluation using authentic assessment has definitely given a more suitable means of assessing knowledge and growth. This technique is associated with constructivist philosophy in its stress on the whole child. (McCarty; Davis, 1992) When we precisely study student working on commendable academic tasks, assessment is authentic. Authentic assessment necessitates students to generate an answer to a question rather than select from a set of answers given to them. When we use the word alternative assessment, we think of certain instances of alternative assessment like exhibitions, investigations, demonstrations, written or oral responses, journals, and portfolios. (Cora, 2001)

The following are some of the tools utilized in authentic assessment: checklists; simulations; essays and other writing samples; demonstrations or performances; intake and progress interviews; oral presentations; informal and formal observations by instructors, peers, and others; self-assessments; and constructed-response queries. Students would be asked to assess case studies, write meanings and guard them verbally, do role-plays, or have oral readings recorded on tape. They might gather writing folders that have outline and reviews showing changes in spelling and mechanics, revision strategies, and their history as a writer. (Kerka, 1995)…

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