Standardized Tests are not making the Grade

Written by: Jaedin Turner, Reporter

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Standardized testing has been around since the beginning of public education; however, our world has changed since its origins. Project Based Learning is a new way to test the knowledge of students. It places real world problems into the classroom. This requires students to be innovative thinkers and allow them to solve problems bigger than themselves or their school. Standardized testing, an unreliable way to measure growth, should be replaced with project-based learning because it prepares them for the real world and teaches students problem solving skills.

Standardized test forces students to cram for tests the night before and not learn the concepts long term. Brookings Institute found that students only retain 20% of information learned when they use standardized testing. 

When project-based learning is put into classrooms, it helps students to remember the information by connecting it to a project. Just because a child is good at taking tests, does not necessarily mean that they are intelligent. According to ProCon.org, testing students teaches them to be good at taking tests, not the real world. Finland is placed at the top of the Programme for International Student Assessment rankings because the students there are exceptional at preparing and taking standardized tests. However, they are not ready for education after highschool or their future jobs because they have forgotten important information they were taught at school.

Problem solving skills are a must once out of school. One of the many benefits of PBL is that it introduces these skills to students, by putting them into groups and giving them a problem to solve, it enhances these, according to learningindustry.com. Some teachers or parents might argue they learned that way and students should continue to do so. However, the world is always changing and, in order for students to be prepared for the different world of technology and new problems, tests are not the answer. As stated on pbl.com, this new way of teaching helps students to develop critical thinking and communication skills that they would not normally receive from tests, resulting in a  deeper knowledge in the content.  

Project-based learning better prepares students and gives a truer reading of the knowledge a student truly knows. When students are given a test, all they have to do is memorize the information until after the test. Then, they forget the information and continue to do this with all of their units. By the end, they only have little pieces of every subject. If the students were instead given projects and problems to solve that relate to their class, then they are more likely to remember this information for longer. Project-based learning should be the tests of the future because standardized tests are not proving to be effective.

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