Teachers are opposed to standardized testing, including achievement testing, when the test is not appropriate to the educational needs of the student and when the results are misused. Standardized tests are developed by people or organizations outside the classroom and administered to a large number of students under standardized conditions. Standardized tests generally stand alone and are administered as single assessments. Examples of standardized tests are the Provincial Achievement Tests and commercial tests such as the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS).
The use of standardized tests should be limited to the purposes for which the tests have been designed. Typically, standardized test results should not be combined with results from curriculum assessments because each is designed to measure different aspects of student achievement. As well, the results from a single standardized test should not be used to determine a student’s final grade or program placement.
Standardized tests become high-stakes tests when the results are used to evaluate students, teachers and schools, or to determine educational funding. When the results of standardized and achievement tests are used in these ways, valuable classroom instructional time may be spent teaching to the test and training students to read multiple-choice tests and complete computer answer sheets. These activities intrude on the instructional process.