Standardized Testing Pros and Cons: Latest Research Analyzed on New ProCon.org Website

Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:15pm EDT

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Standardized Testing Pros and Cons: Latest Research Analyzed on New ProCon.org Website

PR Newswire

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states. U.S. students slipped from 18th in the world in math in 2000 to 31st place in 2009, with a similar decline in science and no change in reading. Failures in the education system have been blamed on rising poverty levels, teacher quality, tenure policies, and increasingly on the pervasive use of standardized tests.

ProCon.org's 42nd website, Standardized Tests ProCon.org (http://standardizedtests.procon.org), provides comprehensive pros, cons, and nonpartisan research related to the question "Is the use of standardized tests improving education in the U.S.?"

Proponents say standardized tests are a fair and objective measure of student ability, that they ensure teachers and schools are accountable to taxpayers, and that the most relevant constituents – parents and students – approve of testing.

Opponents say the tests are neither fair nor objective, that their use promotes a narrow curriculum and drill-like "teaching to the test," and that excessive testing undermines America's ability to produce innovators and critical thinkers.

Key players George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the National Education Association, Diane Ravitch, Michelle Rhee, Richard Phelps, and over 140 sources have been referenced in this comprehensive compilation of the best pro and con research available on standardized testing.

ProCon.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity, is America's premier online destination for free and unbiased research on controversial topics.

The website provides millions of readers with in-depth nonpartisan information on important and controversial social issues in order to stimulate critical thinking and educate without bias.

The new educational website (http://standardizedtests.procon.org) includes pro and con arguments, a detailed background on the issue, a video gallery, numerous photos, listed sources for all data cited, and a unique "Did You Know?" section which provides little known facts such as:

  1. Following the passage of NCLB on Jan. 8, 2002, annual state spending on standardized tests rose from $423 million to almost $1.1 billion in 2008 (a 160% increase compared to a 19.22% increase in inflation over the same period), according to the Pew Center on the States.
  2. 93% of studies have found student testing, including the use of large-scale, standardized tests, to have a "positive effect" on student achievement, according to a peer-reviewed, 100-year analysis of testing research completed in 2011 by Richard Phelps, a prominent pro-testing scholar.
  3. On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that "test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it."
  4. China, a country with a long tradition of standardized testing, topped all countries in the international rankings for reading, math, and science in 2009 when it debuted on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) charts.
  5. The current use of No. 2 pencils on standardized tests is a holdover from the 1930s through the 1960s, when scanning machines scored answer sheets by detecting the electrical conductivity of graphite pencil marks.

For more information on standardized tests, visit http://standardizedtests.procon.org.

About Us

ProCon.org (online at www.procon.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.  Information is presented on 42 different ProCon.org issue websites in subjects ranging from medical marijuana, abortion, and alternative energy to the death penalty, illegal immigration, and health care reform.

ProCon.org websites are free of charge and require no registration.  The websites have been referenced by over 340 media entities, cited 36 times by the governments of 11 countries (including 17 US states and seven U.S. federal agencies), and used in over 1,790 schools in all 50 U.S. states and 37 countries.

Media/Press Coverage of ProCon.org Includes:  CNN, CNBC, CBS News, NBC News, FOX News, 60 Minutes, PBS, Reuters, BBC, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Dallas Morning News, Orange County Register, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, The Oregonian, Idaho Press-Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Shreveport Times, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Week, Esquire, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Advocate, Slate, Wired, New England Journal of Medicine, and many others.

For an interview or more information, contact:
KamyAkhavan, President
kamy@procon.org
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SOURCE ProCon.org

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