Standardized testing is a topic some are passionate about, and which affects many students. There are certain requirements put in place by the state in order to ensure students meet specific standards, and to ensure teachers are instructing effectively. They cover the topics of math, science, reading and writing. These tests were implemented starting in 2002 with the No Child Left Behind Act. Although nationally required, states can create and administer their own version of the test. These tests are mandatory for students 4th grade through high school. This topic is under great scrutiny because of new legislation concerning these standards.
At this time, there are many strong arguments for administering the test. Many of the proponents for standardized testing will cite China as an example of the benefits of these tests. In 2009, students in China ranked first for reading, math, and science, according to the Programm for International Students Assessment. This ranking is commonly attributed to China's long history of standardized testing. Standardized tests take advantage of many modern technological advances, utilizing these tools helps reduce bias while grading and provides more accurate results on students' ability. Without these tests, advancement is largely objective. Teachers are able to pass students regardless of whether or not students have mastered skills necessary for the next grade level. The use of grading machines also allows for unbiased results. These ideas are what advanced the idea of standardized tests.
On the contrary, there are many negative effects on schools and students. One of the negative ramifications is increased costs. Since January 8, 2002, (when No Child Left Behind was past), average state spending on standardized tests rose from $423 million to almost $1.1 billion in 2008. This is 160% increase, compared to 19.22% inflation increase. Teaching to the test is another cause for concern. Many teachers and students will agree that parts of curriculum are skipped in order to focus on subjects that will be tested. These are the reasons that some oppose the idea of standardized tests.