The Impact of Standardized Testing on Learning Progress


A standardized test is so loosely used in educational settings that only a few people are capable of explaining what a standardized test is. We tend to see it as synonymous with paper-and-pen examinations. A test may be regarded as an instrument that is capable of eliciting a reproducible experience from an individual or group with the possibility of identifying individual differences in learners. The description and classification of tests are not easy to separate. Tests may however be described or classified either in terms of

  • What use is made of them in formative or summative evaluation?
  • Selection of program evaluation
  • Traits measured as in personality tests, aptitude tests, interests, and attitudes
  • Subject tests as in English, Mathematics, and Education
  • Performance expectation cooking, drama, construction
  • Specific city as to level or type of performance expected
  • Expected type of response – e.g. performance, recognition, oration, objective/subjective
  • Expected scoring procedure global/analytic, computer/manual
  • Formed or criterion-referenced-test standards
  • Known objective (achievement, aptitude, and competency) or undefined objective as in projective test.
  • When the test is conducted – before or after instruction (pre-test or post-test)
  • Time allocation viz-a-viz the demand of the power: Power Test/Speed Test
  • Individual or group test
  • Who constructed the test (teacher-made/commercial/standardized)



Everything we do in life has a purpose for which we do it. The purpose must not be compromised. The standardized test is a kind of testing that has a purpose for which it is done. It must answer the questions why do you test; when do you test; how do you test; with what frequency do you test and do you interpret test scores?

The standardized test determines learning objectives.

A good teacher must state the objectives to achieve at the end of the class. In the classroom, he or she will test the students through evaluation as prepared in the lesson note/plan. The same applies to the standardized test; the test determines whether the learning objectives have been achieved. After the test, the students can give positive feedback, that the learning objectives have been achieved, but if the feedback is negative, the learning objectives have not been achieved. More efforts are needed by the teacher.

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The test helps to identify individual differences.

There is no doubt that students differ in talents, gifts, capacities, skills, knowledge, and understanding of assimilation in the classroom, the use of tests will help the teacher to identify individual differences in learning, that are above average, average, and below average. The performance of the learners in the test will make the teacher come to the aid to carry the average and below-average learners along.

The test monitors the progress of the class.

The physical monitoring is not enough to determine the achievement of the learners. The teacher is expected to use a test to monitor the performance of the learners. The use of the test will determine to know the weak and strong learners in the classroom, and will also know whether the weak learners are improving in the class.

The test helps to offer valid reports.

Without the test, it may be difficult to give the parents feedback concerning their children and their learning progress in school. The test enables the school to offer reports of the same to parents. A teacher who uses the standardized test often will have valid and reliable reports about the performances of their learners than those who do not.

The test gives room for selection.

Most of the time, the schools select the best of their students for competitions, especially the national or international competitions to win prizes and to promote the schools. The only way to determine the best students is through standardized tests. The students who are consistent in their learning and test performances will be picked for the programs.

The test assesses the suitability of a curriculum.

The use of the test will help the teacher determine whether the learners understand the curriculum. Not only that, but it will also help the teacher whether the topics are suitable to the recommended curriculum. It assesses the suitability of a curriculum.

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The test helps to notice changes in learners’ behaviors.

After the teachers have worked seriously on the weak students in and outside the classroom, the only measuring tool to determine changes is the use of tests. When the teacher conducts the test, the performance of the students will help to notice the changes in the performance of the learners.

The test assesses a teaching strategy.

There are different methods, strategies, approaches, and techniques of teaching. No matter the method, the approaches, or strategies we may use. If the learners perform poorly, the teacher has to change that method, approach, or technique. The teacher may notice that the method is not feasible for the learners through the use of tests. If 90% performs poorly on the test, the teacher has to change the teaching approaches.

The test determines the certificate award.

The major purpose of attending the school is to acquire the knowledge and certificate(s). The certificate will be awarded at the end of the program after a series of tests. The performance in the test will determine the award of the certificate or whether the certificate will be awarded or not. If the learner passes all the required tests, the certificate will be awarded, but if the learner does not pass the required tests, the certificate will not be awarded until all the required tests are passed.

The test helps to identify areas of deficiency.

Another impact of the test is to help the teacher to identify the area of deficiency. Without a test, the teacher cannot determine the performance in which to notice the deficiencies for amendments.

The test helps to compare one group of learners to another.

If the teacher is taking two groups of learners or two learners, he or she will easily determine which group or learner is better. The performance in the test is a tool to determine and compare the better group or the better learner. The teacher will work on the weak group or learner once noticed.

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The test determines the speed of learning.

This will help to determine the speed with which a learner can complete an assignment successfully. A teacher may teach the students with commitment and dedication. Do you know that no matter all the efforts, if the students perform woefully, you need to go back and teach again? The performance in the test may speed up or slow down the process.

The test determines the achievement of learners.

The use of the test determines the achievement of the learners if allowed to operate at their pace. The success and achievements of the learners determine the success of the test. The success of the test is the achievement of the learners. When the learners pass their tests successfully, they will definitely achieve their program. Also, if the learners are successful in their program, the teachers and the learning institutions have achieved.


A standardized test may be administered at various times either before teaching (pre-test), during teaching, or at the end of the test (post-test. The timing may depend on the purpose of the test. A test given on a topic not yet taught might want to elicit the learner’s entry behavior so as to assist the teacher in planning his teaching activities without assuming that students have knowledge of what he needs to teach. A test conducted during the teaching might be a formative one. The formative test assists teachers in identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses at the early stage of the learning activity and so paves the way for remedial work. A test conducted at the end of the lesson can be regarded as summative in nature. Its defect is that where students perform poorly the whole lesson may need to be retaught assuming there is still time for re-teaching otherwise the students are condemned while the teacher laments as his efforts appear futile.

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