Standards of Learning

Essay by dlphn_lvr2003College, UndergraduateA-, February 2005

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Standardized testing is widely used throughout the United States; in Virginia we have the Standards of Learning. The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) test you in the areas of Mathematics, English, History, Social Science, and Science. The purpose of the SOLs at certain grades (3, 5, and 8) and in high school subjects is to inform parents and teachers about what students are learning in relation to the SOL. According to Linda Crocker, "there are three performance categories, 'Did Not Pass,' 'Proficient,' and 'Advanced'" (10). Although there may be some use for the Virginia SOLs, they are limiting education because the teachers just teach the SOL, it tests your memorization rather than your knowledge, and too much emphasis is being put on the test.

According to Crighton, "the term standardized testing was used to refer to a certain type of multiple-choice test that could be machine scored and was therefore thought to be objective" (2530).

Because of the fact that the SOLs are multiple-choice and machine scored "once the key of correct answers is determined, variability in scoring is essentially eliminated" (Linn 7). One way that that the SOLs are limiting is in the way that they are standardized, "the possibility that creative or original thinkers might be penalized" (Linn 7).

One way that the SOLs are limiting education for students is in the way that they are making teachers teach towards the test instead of teaching to enliven students about the subject matter. According to Fleisher, "enthusiastic teachers believe they no longer have time for the projects that used to enliven their classrooms. . . . Instead, they feel obligated to 'teach the test' with uninspiring drills and practice testing" (2). Since there is a lot of material to cover for the SOL "teachers and students report feeling rushed...