Instigator / Pro
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1500
rating
2
debates
50.0%
won
Topic

Standardized Tests Should be Eliminated

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
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Category
Education
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
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Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
0
1500
rating
2
debates
50.0%
won
Description
~ 0 / 5,000

No information

Round 1
Pro
For many years, standardized testing has been used to reflect and demonstrate a student's academic performance and educational status. These tests are no longer accurate or relevant in society today for many reasons. We can not deny that these tests may serve some purpose, but they should not be one of the key resources when used to give out acceptance, scholarship, or academic judgments. Standardized tests are some of the most easily influenced by outside factors. The website, soeonline.american.edu, gives the main reason as the unknown. Each test is different, and you can never be too sure what to expect. It is hard to prepare for what you do not know. There are general books, problems, and tips that can be used to prepare, but there is almost no confidence when it comes to the actual test. Another reason is these tests are extremely long. According to opencolleges.edu, the average student’s attention span on a test is 10-15 minutes of intense focus, but this can increase when a student knows the information and can confidently answer the material. Tests like the ACT and SAT last for over 4 hours sometimes. This is an insane amount of time to ask students to sit and focus. Many questions on the ACT and SAT are not black and white and require much focus and thought. Another huge outside factor that piggybacks on not knowing the material is stress. These tests are some of the biggest sources of stress for students, especially since so many of them determine what college and scholarships they receive. They have such a huge impact on the student’s future. This stress can impact a student negatively. It can take away focus and motivation at school. In some cases, students worry and focus on standardized tests so much, they do less at school and their grades are negatively impacted. These tests do not even accurately measure a person’s capability as a student or intellectual individually. There is so much more to a student’s brain and success in school than what is reflected through these tests. According to the University of Chicago, Kallie Clark, Ph.D., School of Social Service Administration, found that ¨High-school GPAs might be stronger indicators of college readiness because they measure a wider variety of skills—including effort over an entire semester in many different types of classes, and demonstration of academic skills through multiple formats. On the other hand, standardized tests measure a smaller set of skills, and students can prepare for these tests in narrow ways that may not translate into better prepared to succeed in college¨ We cannot determine that the smartest students can take a standardized test in a good manner. However, we can determine that GPA is a culmination of every subject, every class, and overall the best way to determine the intelligence of a person. There is a clear difference between testing all aspects of academics throughout multiple years and having a student take a test only focusing on four aspects of education in a certain time span. Eliminating the ACT and SAT as primary resources when testing college readiness will alleviate the stress on students, maintain a positive outlook on school, and cause colleges to look deeper into a student's academic success than a standardized test. 
Con
You bring up the point that standardized tests are no longer accurate, what evidence provides that they are no longer accurate? And what do you mean by "accurate"? According to an article from fordhaminstitute.org, standardized tests are graded by a machine or blind reviewer. This takes away any discrimination or bias that would take away the accuracy in grading. They are also the same globally, so it is fair and there is no unequal playing field among the test takers. These assessments are used as a scale to measure everyone equally. Additionally, in an article from nytimes.com, ACT and SAT scores provide an opportunity for low income students to get admitted into schools that they would not be able to get into. With the removal of standardized tests, it would eliminate these opportunities for a numerous number of students. Another reason why schools still need standardized testing is because it offers an evaluation on how different teachers and schools perform. The website ulethbridge.ca suggests that standardized tests are the best way to check how accountable schools and teachers are. They help people determine what areas have the best education systems and help people decide if the education they are paying for is worth the money. 
You also claim that standardized tests should be abolished because they are difficult to prepare for because you do not know what is on the test. If everyone knew exactly what to prepare for, then there would be no scale or comparison of where you are in the real world. The scores would be higher and closer together and colleges would not be able to compare students to other students. I think we can both agree that there needs to be a bar in order to progress in the future. Without this bar, there are no standards for these students. This is also shown in an article from nytimes.com, where the University of California found that ACT and SAT scores better predict college success than GPA. The standard to do well on these tests sets a bar to succeed that translates into college success. This contradicts with a statement made in your argument that GPA is a better indicator of college readiness than standardized tests. The University of California suggests that the ACT and SAT are better indicators because GPA is based off of how difficult the teacher and education system is in different areas.You bring up the solution of using GPA as a gauge to determine where students to go, but aren’t standardized tests given throughout all the different subjects to accumulate our GPA? The definition of a standardized test, is any test in which the same test is given in the same manner to all test takers, and graded in the same manner for everyone. So yes, standardized tests make up our GPA, and yet you argue we should just use GPA to determine where a student belongs. Even though standardized tests are the building blocks of one's GPA.
Round 2
Pro
In this debate, the term accurate is used to show the discrepancy between a standardized test and a student's ability to perform well in schools. It has nothing to do with the integrity of the grading system. It is not about the test itself, but what the test is used for. There is no way one test can accurately measure someone's intelligence, capabilities, or academic prowess. Yet, so much of their future resides on the ACT or SAT. These tests force students to recall information they have learned over four years of school or never seen before. It is very quick-paced and can cause immense amounts of stress. This is the key difference between a school test and a standardized test. In school, they are taught, given free materials to review, and a specific time and subject to test over. Teachers know exactly what to teach, and students know exactly how to prepare. If they study or do naturally well, this is a far better judge than an obscure standardized test. On top of that, is it fair to pressure students that they reflect their teachers? According to direct.mit.edu, students are overwhelmingly stressed about standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT because they are constantly being pressured by teachers. These tests bring enough stress already. There is no reason students should feel responsible for their teachers on top of their college education. 

Your argument that these tests judge and evaluate teachers and school districts is correct. If anything, this should be the only reason these tests are used, but even then there are flaws. We have already covered one of those flaws, but there are many. First off, soeonline.american.edu indicates the amount of stress these tests place on teachers. There can be severe backlash from the administration if scores are low. But how is this the teachers' fault? They have no control over how much a student prepares, pays attention, or scores. Especially since many of the factors stated in the previous round can affect a score at actual testing time. If the teacher spends all the class time “teaching to the test” there is no room for a broader and more relevant curriculum. “Students’ increasing test anxiety means the tests don’t show us what students are capable of or what they know. Standardized tests are most often multiple choice. This format doesn’t encourage students to think about what the answer to a question is…Students are unable to generate a response; all they can do is recognize one by picking it out of four or five answers provided by someone else. They can’t even explain their reasons for choosing the answer they did…In short, standardized tests don’t motivate our students to think critically but rather to memorize and recite answers(atpe.org)." These tests should not be used to indicate college readiness or demonstrate accurate academic performance. Especially because the more time and effort someone puts into the test, oftentimes, the better the score. 

You mention standardized tests are taken by lower-income students as an aid for getting into college, yet to take these tests they must pay a large amount of money. While some colleges offer money for the ACT and SAT scores, more and more universities are not requiring these tests, therefore do not give out money for scores. Lower-income students are more likely to attend college with funding based on their grades according to The New York Times. Some students may have a lower ACT or SAT score but may have a high GPA. This GPA could earn them thousands of dollars in financial aid. Elaine M. Allensworth, Ph.D., Lewis-Sebring Director of the University of Chicago Consortium, stated, “Grade point averages (GPA) are a 5 times stronger indicator of college success than standardized tests, according to a study of 55,084 Chicago public school students. GPAs measure a very wide variety of skills and behaviors that are needed for success in college, where students will encounter widely varying content and expectations. In contrast, standardized tests measure only a small set of the skills that students need to succeed in college, and students can prepare for these tests in narrow ways that may not translate into better preparation to succeed in college(news.uchicago.edu)."

On top of that, Penn State Education states that "studies show states spend over $1.7 billion every year on standardized testing." Penn State explains that Americans are the ones paying taxes on these standardized tests. Their money should be used for schools that need aide for textbooks and to expand or build new schools as class sizes increase. We pay billions of dollars combined for what? For students to spend hours on end and for parents to spend hundreds of dollars for one kid on a test? 

Standardized testing is unfair because, many times, the more you pay the better you will do. Yes, there are cases where someone gets a good score without any practice, but many parents will pay a lot of money so their student can improve their scores. In reality, the test is determined by how much money and time you have to put into it. On the website prepscholar.com, there is evidence of this because it is written, “Generally speaking, you can expect to spend somewhere between $50 and $2,000 on ACT prep, depending on which options you choose. It can even be upwards of $10,000.” There are kids who deserve just as many opportunities to succeed, but they can not pay for that kind of preparation. Students are left behind because they do not have money to spend on practices and tutors. These students most likely need those scholarships the most.
Con
One of the claims that are made towards why standardized tests should be eliminated is due to the amount of stress that is put on students. However, stress does not only occur from these ACT/SAT tests, but also from grades and GPA. According to ascd.org, Stanford University surveyed 54,000 high school students and found out that 75% of students often feel stressed by their schoolwork. They also found out that 76% of students felt worried they were not doing well enough in school. Your argument backs up grades in school and GPA, but this is what also puts stress on students. If your logic is that standardized tests cause too much stress on students, the same argument can also be made for GPA. 

It is also mentioned in your argument how it is not the teacher’s fault if a student does poorly on a standardized test. Your point in how much a student prepares and pays attention is true, but the part that none of it is the teacher’s fault is not true. The article from ulethbridge.ca explains how it is the teacher’s job to teach students the information so they know what to do on the test. You make the point that teachers cannot control their students, so they have no effect on the scores. However, you also make the point that standardized testing is not fair because students are tested over information that they have never seen before. These are two contradicting points because you claim how students are tested over knowledge they are unfamiliar with, but then you also claim the student’s score is reflected on how much they prepare and pay attention. You are first backing up the students for not knowing the information, but then you are putting the responsibility on the students to pay attention to do well on the test.

Another argument that is addressed is that students do not think critically on standardized tests and they just memorize and recite answers that will be on the test. As you have stated before, students are tested over information they have never seen before. How does it work that students memorize what will be on the test when they do not know what is on the test?

The final argument made in this round has to do with the costs of standardized tests. You first start by saying “yet to take these tests they [students] must pay a large amount of money.” According to act.org, the cost to take a test is $63 or $88, depending on if the student is taking the writing portion or not. This is not a lot of money, but maybe your argument is where people will spend $50-$2,000 on ACT prep and even up to $10,000. It is not that people “must” pay this large amount of money to prepare, it is that they choose to. The only thing they “must” pay is the small fee to take the test. Additionally, the money spent on preparing will pay itself off if the student earns a scholarship. The website financialaid.ua.edu shares how the University of Alabama’s in-state tuition is about $11,000 and one can earn a full ride with an ACT score of 30. Even in the rare case that a student spends $10,000 on test prep, it can end up saving them money. 

One of your rebuttals is that standardized tests do not help low-income students get into colleges because more and more colleges are taking away the tests and the scholarships that come with them. However, as stated before, a low-income student can get a full scholarship based on their ACT score. You argue that scholarships should come from GPA, but we have learned from fordhaminstitute.org that because there are different teachers and education systems, GPA does not reflect an accurate comparison to other students as the ACT or SAT does. It ties back into our claim that standardized tests offer a fair comparison to other students because it is the same everywhere, as GPA does not. The fair playing field allows for low-income students to get scholarships.
Round 3
Pro
Grade point average is an accumulation over four years. These grades are guided by teachers who know what to teach, and students know what to study. It is important to keep this GPA up, which is why students stress about it. Why add stress from the ACT and SAT? Many times now, colleges aren’t even accepting these scores for admittance or scholarships. CBSnews.com states, “A growing number of U.S. colleges and universities are abandoning ACT and SAT scores as part of their admissions process. The so-called test-blind movement has gathered steam this year amid widespread cancellations of the standardized tests because of COVID-19.” They also bring up the point of blind testing. Yes, you can prepare for these tests, but that requires money. Do you know the problems that will appear? No. To an extent, you know the general topics, but it’s always a surprise when you open that booklet. Prep classes and teachers can only teach so much. That’s where teaching to the test plays a big role in success. Rarely will a student do well with zero preparation before the test, even if they are a good student. The time limit, length, and difficulty of questions will throw even the best student off. A good score requires research, time, and yes, money.

Many people take standardized tests multiple times, so the cost adds up. Along with this, students take courses and forms of practice tests to prepare them for tests like the SAT and the ACT. Also, the average college tuition is $30,000(educationdata.org). The colleges that require high standardized scores, cost more. Also, to go along the lines of taking the test multiple times, students memorize how the test works, not the material specifically. Therefore, they can memorize how the test is structured causing them to be able to do better each time. Costs for standardized tests are not just for the test itself. The taxes that are paid for education are going towards standardized tests and making those available. This costs more money than just the $63 you said people are paying. All of these combined cause people to end up paying hundreds to thousands of dollars each, which some cannot afford.  

When one is applying for scholarships, big or small, most require an essay. This is because essays give the college a look at the creative and academic style of the students. “Majority of scholarship providers require students to write an essay as a way to learn more about the applicant,” says scholarshipowl.com. “Whether it's for college admissions or scholarship money, chances are you will have to write at least one application essay”(scholarships.com). In order to have an excellent essay, the student must be personal and creative. Their ACT and SAT scores will not allow them to be creative and think things through as an essay will. If the scores were enough, essays wouldn’t be necessary. 

The ACT and SAT are not relevant as society and education progress. They do not accurately represent academic ability or educational levels. Therefore, they should not be the key factors in a student's future, and perhaps should not be used at all anymore. Standardized tests should be eliminated. 
Con
We believe that standardized tests should not be eliminated. These tests need to be kept because they allow for an equal comparison to other students, they help students get scholarships to get into schools, they offer an evaluation of teachers and school systems, and they set a standard for success. Standardized tests take away any discrimination or bias towards the test taker, allowing for an equal comparison of where each student is academically. Additionally, with different teachers and grading systems, GPA does not always reflect a student's intelligence. Standardized tests provide many different opportunities for low-income students and offer a variety of scholarships in the educational field.  These tests also provide information on how well the teacher and school system are educating students and it sets a standard for them to do well. 

Numerous amounts of points were made, but only two were refuted. These points were on how teachers were being evaluated in the school system and how scholarships were given to low-income students. The rebuttals that you gave to these points were quickly diffused. On your rebuttal about how standardized tests do not evaluate school systems, your reasoning was that it was up to the students to pay attention and prepare for the test. To counter this, we explained how you made two contradicting points to falsify your claim. You were unable to back up your reasoning on this topic. Another one of your rebuttal points brought into the conversation was that low-income students cannot afford to take these tests. Again, this was quickly shut down with evidence proving it actually gives opportunity on behalf of students who are not as financially capable. You tried to counter this by explaining how college tuition is $30,000, so low-income students should not be paying extra money on standardized tests. We were able to describe how the ACT/SAT can pay for one’s full tuition or give them additional money. 

A point that was brought up in your debate was that standardized tests are not accurate. We responded with the fact that there was no data proving this claim, and that these tests are graded by unbiased machines. Another piece of evidence brought into play was that these tests are hard to prepare for and one can not tell what is on the test. We replied that if the test were easy to prepare for then there would be no bar set and no information to go off of because everyone would be getting high scores. Stress was another factor that was said in your case which was also quickly denounced. One of the solutions to standardized testing was GPA, even though GPA also gives the same stress for students as it does with standardized tests.

It is clear that standardized testing is a necessity that needs to stay. There is not enough evidence backing why standardized testing should be replaced, and the evidence that is provided is very weak. Standardized testing not only sets the bar for some students but also gives them opportunities and paves a road for success. 


Round 4
Pro
Works Cited 

Briggs, Saga. “How to Capture and Hold The Attention of Easily Distracted Students.” informED, https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/30-tricks-for-capturing-students-attention/#:~:text=Some%20psychologists%20claim%20the%20typical,the%20material%2C%20and%20other%20factors . Accessed 25 February 2022. 

Brooks, Khristopher. “ACT and SAT Scores No Longer Required For Admissions at Some Colleges.” CBS News, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/act-and-sat-no-longer-required-college-admissions/. Accessed 25 February 2022. 

“Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?” Procon.org, https://standardizedtests.procon.org/. Accessed 22 February 2022. 

Hanson, Melanie. “Average Cost of College and Tuition.” Education Data Initiative, https://educationdata.org/average-cost-of-college. Accessed 25 February 2022.

Robinson, Ashley. “How Much Do ACT Prep Classes Cost? PrepScholar, https://blog.prepscholar.com/act-prep-classes-

Lieber, Ron. “High School Grades Could Be Worth $100,000. Time to Tell Your Child?” Financial Aid: Grades, Merit and Talking to Kids About Paying for College, 23 Jan. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/business/financial-aid-college-merit-aid.html Accessed 21 Febrary 2022. 

“Test Scores Don’t Stack Up to GPAs In Predicting College Success.” UChicago News, https://news.uchicago.edu/story/test-scores-dont-stack-gpas-predicting-college-success. Accessed 22 February 2022. 

“The Price of Standardized Testing.” Penn State Education, https://sites.psu.edu/tota19edu/2019/02/07/the-price-of-standardized-testing/ Accessed 23 February 2022. 

Wellemayer, James. “Wealthy Parents Spend Up to $10,000 on SAT Prep For Their Kids.” MarketWatch, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/some-wealthy-parents-are-dropping-up-to-10000-on-sat-test-prep-for-their-kids-2019-06-21. Accessed 23 February 2022.  




Con
Works Cited

Churchill, Aaron. “Bless the tests: Three reasons for standardized testing.” Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 18 March 2015,

“Current ACT Fees and Services.” ACT, www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/registration/fees.html. Accessed 24 February 2022.

Doyne, Shannon. “Should Students Be Required to Take the SAT and ACT to Apply to College?” New York Times, 26 May 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/learning/should-students-be-required-to-take-the-sat-and-act-to-apply-to-college.html. Accessed 23 February 2022.

Feldman, Joe. “Taking the Stress Out of Grading.” acsd, 1 September 2020, www.google.com/url?q=https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/taking-the-stress-out-of-grading&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1645939771555565&usg=AOvVaw1HYkdUTTsRtEvxoxSTqLgK. Accessed 24 February 2022.

“In-State Freshman Scholarships.” The University of Alabama, www.scholarships.ua.edu/freshman/in-state/. Accessed 24 February 2022.

“Standardized Testing: Fair or Not?” University of Lethbridge, www.ulethbridge.ca/teachingcentre/standardized-testing-fair-or-not. Accessed 23 February 2022.