Alternatives to Standardized Tests

A standardized test is any kind of test, whose main design is to assess, gauge and arrange students using identical means of examinations. Students answer similar spread of questions designed in an identical way. There have been major concerns about standardized tests as they are a routine performance checker across the United States major Districts. Most schools and educational centers use standardized tests as an accountability measure. This measure denotes the emphasis to use other alternative ways of gauging both students and teachers. Critics argue that standardized tests are a measure of education systems, schools, and districts, rather than students (Haney, 2012). 

Project-based learning is an alternative to Standardized tests. In this assessment, students’ main requirement is to complete a detailed amount of assessment tasks, which are based on performances to validate and establish that all concepts within their subject area taught in the classroom. Students complete a set of actual tasks, which they apply in the classroom. These assessments incorporate learning demonstrations by the students into assessment programs. These assessments include reports, group and individual presentations, portfolios, papers, and projects of work, which the teacher collects over a period (Haney, 2012).  

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This Project-performance based method has proven to be advantageous in several ways. First, learning is an extensive range of work/ assignments done over a long time, rather than a standardized pencil and paper test, which students take for a few hours. This approach proves to encourage, engage and inspire districts and schools to invest in improvement and development of evaluators, teachers and other external parties. Conclusively, we can certainly agree that both teachers and students reflect more constantly and regularly on work and learning excellence of students in their classroom.


Haney, W. M., Madaus, G. F., & Lyons, R. (2012). The Fractured Marketplace for Standardized Testing. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

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