Should standardized tests be removed from the educational system?

In a world that quickly evolves and that tries to become more inclusive, many question the standardized testing’s continued relevance in the educational system

Rise of the Issue

Standardized testing has been around for many years and school officials are starting to differ on whether the education system is ready to evolve beyond them. Standardized tests were created to measure academic ability in students. However, opponents to the tests have argued that the method is faulty, saying that students are not being educated to do anything other than successfully take tests. While the measurement cannot be perfect, supporters of the test recognize that there is no better or more efficient alternative so far. Aside from debates over the effectiveness of standardizing tests in doing what they were initially created for, both sides argue over academic fairness and the value of education. 

In 2021, MSTA surveyed 6000 teachers and discovered that 94% favored eliminating standardized testing.

Issue Timeline


College Entrance Exams Introduced

The President of Harvard University proposed the idea for a system of entrance examinations used for colleges in the U.S. to determine academic eligibility.


First Examinations Are Administered

The first national examinations are held a year after the formation of the College Entrance Examination Board in 1900.


Scholastic Aptitude Tests Formed

The SAT test was created and first administered in 1926, becoming the national standardized test.


Standardized Testing Becomes State Mandated

After decades of growth, standardized testing became the legally required barometer for assessing grades 3-to-12 students.


Reduced Standardized Testing

After concerns mounted over schools’ reliance on standardized testing and their potential exclusiveness, the legislative act “Every Student Succeeds” was passed to reduce testing for students.


COVID-19 Pandemic Shuts Down Testing

In the wake of the pandemic, the U.S Department of Education removed all federal testing requirements.

Micro Issues


Measuring Academic Ability

While supporters say standardized testing is the most efficient measurement of students’ academic ability, opposers argue that standardized testing only measures how good students are at taking tests.


Educational Inequality

While some see standardized tests as a way to witness educational inequalities in order to better address them, others believe that the tests themselves reinforce bias by the type of questions and assumptions they make, thereby perpetuating the vicious cycle of educational inequality.


Evaluating the Educational System

Many use standardized tests as a means to evaluate how qualified and efficient teachers and schools are, associating how well students do with how great their formal education is ; others however believe that other factors outside of school determine a student’s success in education.

Pro Arguments


Standardized testing is based on a normative view of intellect.

Testing disregards intellectual diversity by giving every student the same exam.


They teach students how to take tests, not how to learn.

Standardized tests teach students how to take tests, sometimes focusing on memorization and informed guessing as opposed to learning.


They neglect students with learning disabilities.

Providing every student with the same test puts students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage, despite attempts to remedy these with special measures like giving extra time to some students.


Standardized tests are unreliable metrics for evaluating teachers.

Testing has been proven to be inconsistent in determining the ability and success of teachers in the classroom.


Test scores are not good at evaluating future success.

Standardized tests only assess student ability concerning the common core curriculum, making them unreliable determinants for students’ future success in their careers and in life.

Con Arguments


Standardized testing is efficient.

Utilizing standardized tests for measuring academic ability is the most efficient and convenient way to measure the academic ability of students.


They allow for national interconnectivity between schools.

Every public school district in the U.S participates in standardized testing, offering a cohesive and united measurement of student success across the country.


The tests can help students learn where they need to improve.

By using a grading system, the tests can show students where they succeed as well as where they should work to improve.


Standardized testing helps evaluate teachers.

Comparing the test scores of each student and class within a school can show educators which teachers might need to improve their tactics.


Testing can offer data to support students with learning disabilities.

Standardized testing data can be utilized by researchers to find better ways to aid test-taking students with learning disabilities.