In Texas the educational standard is tested using a system known as standardized tests. This is the system that educationists in Texas use to assess the quality of education in grade 9-11. This system measures the quality of education in Texas, using parameters such as math, reading skills, science, and social studies skills. This system has close supervision from the Texas educational agency. In the recent past, standardized testing in Texas has suffered a lot of criticism from parents, students and educational activists. This paper discusses standardized testing in Texas and its possible weaknesses. The rules and regulations that govern and inspire the performance of standardized testing in Texas have also been given a considerable concern. The need to change this system and the new system that would best replace the existing one has been discussed critically in this essay.
Laws and Regulations Supporting Standardized Testing in Texas
The No Child Left behind Act, which is mostly abbreviated as NCLB is federal legislation act that was enacted in 2001. It had a particular design to improve the quality of education in America at large. This law, which was enacted by George Bush, is highly instrumental in shaping the motivations behind the standardized testing system used in Texas. This law is an optional program and each state is free to decline. However, the influence of this law is still felt in the system of education in Texas. This law allows each state to develop its own assessment test methods to be used to gauge the level of education in the state. All public schools should use the same testing system applied in the state (Phelps, 2005).
Another legal perspective to view the standardized testing in Texas is the fact that it is financed by the law makers of Texas through budgetary allocation. In fact, this has been a contentious issue to the testing system in Texas because the funds were slashed by $4 billion. This is a formidable challenge, and it may affect the modifications that should be done to this system of testing in Texas. The budget cut by lawmakers in Texas has triggered a number of law suits from public schools in Texas. These funds are not enough to finance the high accountability standards expected from the public schools in the state. The members of the 68th legislature in Texas have also passed a historic, educational reform that supports standardized testing. This legislation created in 1984 is also known as the House Bill. This legislation has a main responsibility to counter the deteriorating levels of education in Texas at that time. The acts are extremely beneficial in enhancing the performance of standardized testing in Texas.
In the recent past, the former Board of Education candidate identified some scoring mistakes that exist in Texas, which includes standardized system of education. These scoring mistakes were identified in mathematics and science tests. He exposed incorrect scores issued to more than 400,000 students in Texas to criticize the standardized testing in the state. According to him, the Education Agency of Texas had issued false statements about these mistakes, and they did not correct these mistakes (Kaplin, 2006). The testing of mathematics in Texas is also a controversial issue. It covers area such as algebra, geometry and includes a highly minimal use of basic skills such as interpreting graphs. This problem arises when many students take mathematics in higher levels of education. Standardized system in Texas suffers criticism for not testing their higher level skills. Instead of evaluating the knowledge, standardized testing only assesses skills that the students did not acquire recently from the system of education in Texas.
There is a serious difference in opinions even among the researchers investigating the eligibility of the standardized system in Texas. Some people have criticized the way, in which the system uses the grades of students to measure the performance of a school. Texas spends a lot of money on testing. In fact, they spend around $90 million. The money raised by tax payers to finance the testing in Texas is sometimes misused by the people working in the field of education.
David Antony, who works at the education group, presented fact multiple pathways to graduation as an essential aspect of the educational lives of Texas students. According to him, the high quality of education brings prestige and makes the teachers proud. He also criticized the standardized testing in Texas. He used the statistics of the students who had failed the test in Texas to present his argument. According to Antony, Texas is heading to the wrong direction because the statistics reflected that only 20% of the students, who had failed, passed the retake exams. This show that standardized tests present a dark educational future for Texas. This is an issue that commands a lot of attention in Texas.
In the recent past, researchers have showed that standardized tests in Texas have a design flaw. The implications of this flaw are crucial in shaping the poor quality of education in Texas at the moment. The researchers exposed that this was a useless way to measure the extent to which students understood classroom instructions in Texas. The high stake accountability purposes used by standardized testing in Texas have been criticized by these researchers.
The over reliance on standardized testing as the only testing tool to the education quality in Texas is a factor that appreciably contributes to the fundamental dysfunction of this system of education in Texas (Phelps, 2005). This is the fact that is strangling the public schools in Texas. They should consider creating additional testing system to use alongside the standardized testing. This will increase the educators’ chances of improving the system of education and testing in Texas.
The standardized testing technique used in Texas is supremely perfect in ranking students. However, it is not effective when it comes to measuring the quality of education received by the students in Texas. In the recent past, this testing method had a formula they used to count students who had flunked the test as having passed. This formula is known as projection measure. However, the accuracy of this mathematical formula has been questioned.Standardized testing has a significant role in Texas. It has many responsibilities in the society of Texas. For example, the performance of the teachers in Texas is tested on the basis of students’ success. These tests are also the determinants of whether or not the students in Texas proceed with their diploma after high school. Also, 8 years old only advance to the next level of education after passing this test in Texas. When this test is not efficient, this means that the quality of education in Texas is disputable, and the state requires a lot to improve it accordingly. The standardized test system in Texas is a frustration to many parents. They are not satisfied with the way their kids spend a lot of time filling multiple choice questions. According to the parents of Texas, the system piles stress on the students and this contributes to the fact that they do not perform best. It also wastes class time to take all these tests.
The standardized testing used in Texas should be changed with a system that best suits the education in the state. If this system does not change, the students of Texas will continue experiencing hard time. It is vital to at least incorporate some changes to the system if they do not change the system. A system to monitor the understanding of students in small bits is paramount in the education system in Texas. The system should consider splitting the tests into small bits done within small durations. This would be pivotal in improving the performance of students in the public schools in the state.
The public schools in Texas should also incorporate a system that is friendly to parents, teachers, and students of the schools. Perhaps a system in which the testing is considered as a normative issue in education should be used instead. The use of this proposed system is exceedingly necessary so that it ensures that the students literally have the skills that they get tested on (Rideau, 2009). For example, if they get tested for algebra and they pass, they should be able to apply knowledge of algebra in real life. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate a testing system that would test the practicability of the lessons taught in class. This is because the purpose of education at any time is to impact the relevant skills to the student.
From the foregoing, it is unquestionably vivid and clear that the standardized testing in Texas has direct implications on the quality of education in Texas. This system of testing the extent, to which students get the knowledge impacted to them by the teacher, has several failures, and this means that it is dysfunctional in a way. However, as much as the system suffers criticism from the people of Texas, it is indispensable to consider that this system has served the educationists in Texas for a while. Therefore, it is necessary to consider modifying the system in Texas instead of fully disqualifying it. The system has some unique strength despite the criticism it suffers. This system has an excellent performance in ranking the results of the test done. Modifying it and adding some more policies would improve its performance to a world class educational testing system.