Using Standardize Test to Value Teachers Reduces the Quality of Education?
Standardized tests are prevalent in today’s education to check out students’ performances during their studies. These tests seem equal and authorized that can represent precise results of student studies’ status, and more and more government and people start to use these tests’ results to judge whether a teacher is good or bad. The author Marcus Winter pointed out that the standardized test have “limitations” in “measure” students’ learning results and teacher’s full teaching qualities, but it still useful in evaluating teachers that it can reflect the drawbacks of their teaching to some extent. I disagree with the author. I think that the standardized test can not be used to value a teacher since all the contents of the tests can not always correspond with the knowledge teachers teach their students. Using these results to value teachers even push them to teach their students in a wrong way.
Some people suggest that “ Standardized tests monitor how well the process [ of teaching and learning] going on” (Strauss, 2014). It seems correct, but “standardized achievement tests will always contain many items that are not aligned with what’s emphasized instructionally in a particular setting” (Popham, 1999). These difference will them largely affect the qualities of results of the tests. Different teachers may have different “ preferences” and curriculum settings during their teaching process. School in different areas and nations also set different subjects and distribute distinctive textbooks, but the standardize tests are always same to everyone. As a result, students who receive relative curriculum will then do better job than students whose teachers do not have emphasis in this area do.
For example, I used to study in a foreign languages primary school, which set more English classes than other common primary schools did. We had more difficult English textbooks, spent more time on practicing our English skills and had Native American teachers to teach. These were the things that had never happened in a Chinese normal primary school before. There were also some primary schools did not set English class at that time in my city since they thought English course was not necessary. As a result, our performances in English tests were always the first in ranking; those students who did not have English courses had poor performances. Did this results precisely reflected those teachers quality and effectiveness? The answer is definitely not. It can only show that teachers’ ways and contents of curriculums changed when schools had different requirements of various courses, it the led the results changed since students receive distinctive eductions. However, it can not show whether these teachers are valuable or not.
Winters also asserted that “we should use [standardized tests] to improve our terribly flawed system for evaluating teachers”. (Winters, 2012).He suggested these results could effectively reflect teachers’ drawbacks of their teaching and then, they can make efforts to develop. However, in my opinion this function is useless. The prevalence of standardize test evaluation gives teachers too much pressure that push them to teacher just in order to create a better score. Instead of making efforts to develop a interesting and high quality education, teachers pay more attention to “simply guessing what’s probably going to be on the test” (Strauss, 2014).
For example, when I prepared TOFLE test in China, I found a lot of predictions of the tests’ contents by my teachers. Most of the curriculums were about topics and examples would probably appear in the test. We recited those examples and topics and skillfully used them in the tests. Finally we received high scores, but knowledge we received from our teachers did not really improve my English skills. That is because those teachers have too much expectations of our scores since the most important thing to value them is our scores. Teachers who had a student that had a higher score in those tests will more likely to be hired and receive higher salaries, so they all blindly try efforts to increase the score under this pressure, but miss the part that are really precious and useful for students.
Way to evaluate a teacher is still a part that we have to do more to find out, but it will never correct to use standardize test. There are too many reasons that will affect the results. The correspondence of teachers’ curriculum preferences and test content is the biggest part to affect it , but not the only. If governments and people continue to evaluating a teacher like this, they will loose more and more valuable teachers. The qualities of educations will also reduced.