Standardized Testing

Standardized testing is a testing method ensuring consistent conditions, scoring rules and interpretation of results. The purpose of standardized testing is to provide universities and colleges with a quantifiable and unified method of evaluation of prospective students who have graduated from different schools with different academic standards. Standardized tests measure students' skills and problem-solving ability instead of their factual knowledge. Standardized tests were introduced first in the United States in the 20th century. The U.S. Army Alpha and Beta tests during World War I were the predecessors of U.S. standardized academic tests. The need for introduction of a system to compare highly decentralized education systems in the United States became particularly palpable in the 1950s. The decade was marked by major changes in higher education. Later, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 provided a more consistent legal basis for standardized tests for U.S. public schools. The U.S. Public Law 107-110 of 2001, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, identifies the need for "widely accepted professional testing standards" to "objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge and skills, and be tests that do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes, or publicly disclose personally identifiable information".

The ACT and the SAT Reasoning Test are the two most widely used standardized tests in the United States.

SAT Reasoning, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Scholastic Assessment Test, was first introduced in 1901 by the Educational Testing Service. The SAT is now published by U.S. non-profit organization College Board and its aim is to evaluate students' readiness for college. The current SAT Reasoning Test, last changed in 2005, lasts for three hours and forty-five minutes and its scores range from 600 points to 2,400 points. Each of its three parts, Mathematics, Critical Reading and Writing, offer up to 800 points. The ACT, an abbreviation from American College Testing, is another college admission test in the United States. First developed by U.S. educator Everett Franklin Lindquist (1901-1978), the test was introduced in 1959. The ACT was a competitor to the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The launch of the exam aims to address the problem that students sat for different tests varying from state to state or from college to college. The founders of The American College Testing Program Inc sought to help students choose a college and a degree program. The testing system was also designed to enable colleges to acquire easily information on the students they may admit. In 1966, the American College Testing Program changed its name to ACT. Originally, the ACT tested students' knowledge in four fields: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science Reasoning. In 2005, the test was expanded with an optional Writing part. This change happened simultaneously with the changes to the SAT. Each of the main tests gives between one and 36 points. The ACT results are widely recognized by U.S. colleges and universities. However, each institution chooses how to prioritize the test scores and the students' grade point average (GPA) and extra curricular classes. In 2005, ACT set up its unit ACT International in order to offer its services around the world.

Other standardized tests include TOEFL, GMAT and GRE, which give access to MA, MBA and PhD programs throughout North America. TOEFL, also known as Test of English as a Foreign Language, is an Internet-based test designed to measure English-language competence of non-native speakers who want to attend American colleges and universities. GMAT basic is a computer-adaptive admission test for a number of business and management schools in North America. The test was previously administered by ETS, but now it is published by ATC/Pearsons. GMAT measures basic English competence as well as mathematical and analytical writing skills. GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, is required by most North American graduate programs, including Master's and Doctoral degree programs. The exam includes a general test and eight subject tests. GRE is heavily based on vocabulary. IELTS, which is jointly managed by British Council, IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, is designed for prospective students who want to attend a university where English is the language of communication. It measures four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Numerous universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA recognize the results of IELTS.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Tests That Teach: Using Standardized Tests to Improve Instruction
Karen Tankersley.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2007
The Conundrum of Large Scale Standardized Testing: Making Sure Every Student Counts
Harkins, Mary Jane; Singer, Sonya.
Journal of Thought, Vol. 44, No. 1-2, Spring-Summer 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The New Accountability: High Schools and High Stakes Testing
Martin Carnoy; Richard Elmore; Leslie Santee Siskin.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2003
Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It
Peter Sacks.
Perseus, 2000
Ethical and Appropriate High-Stakes Test Preparation in Middle School: Five Methods That Matter
Turner, Steven L.
Middle School Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, September 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Comparative Analysis of the Influence of High Stakes Testing Mandates in the Elementary School
Inserra, Albert; Bossert, Kenneth R.
Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Summer 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Defending Standardized Testing
Richard P. Phelps.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Do School-Based Tutoring Programs Significantly Improve Student Performance on Standardized Tests?
Rothman, Terri; Henderson, Mary.
RMLE Online, Vol. 34, No. 6, January 1, 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
High-Stakes Standardized Testing and Marginalized Youth: An Examination of the Impact on Those Who Fail
Kearns, Laura-Lee.
Canadian Journal of Education, Vol. 34, No. 2, October 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Large-Scale Assessment Programs for All Students: Validity, Technical Adequacy, and Implementation
Gerald Tindal; Thomas M. Haladyna.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
The Ambiguity of Teaching to the Test: Standards, Assessment, and Educational Reform
William A. Firestone; Roberta Y. Schorr; Lora F. Monfils.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
Making Sense of Test-Based Accountability in Education
Laura S. Hamilton; Brian M. Stecher; Stephen P. Klein.
Rand, 2002
Four Effects of the High-Stakes Testing Movement on African American K-12 Students
Thompson, Gail L.; Allen, Tawannah G.
The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 81, No. 3, Summer 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on High Stakes Testing Reexamined
Baker, Melissa; Johnston, Pattie.
Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 37, No. 3, September 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Validity of Standardized Testing in Science
Visone, Jeremy D.
American Secondary Education, Vol. 38, No. 1, Fall 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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