Advantages And Disadvantages Of Standardised Tests

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Shiel et. al. (2010) defined standardised testing or examination as “a procedure designed to assess the abilities, knowledge, or skills of individuals under clearly specified and controlled conditions” (p. 22). These conditions include that all test or examination takers should answer the same questions, in the same way, and that these tests should be scored in a consistent manner. The use of standardised tests has for many years been a topic of controversy. A variety of advantages have been attributed to the practice, but the use of these tests has also been strongly criticized (Shiel, Kellaghan, & Moran, 2010). It can be argued that most tests do not provide information on what a student has learned, only how he/she stands relative to other students and what they do not know. On the other hand, these tests provide more objective and reliable
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These tests are structured in such a way that they give learners an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned and if they are aligned with the set standards. If they fail in certain areas, they should be able to work on their weak points. This was proven in a study by Jones (2007), as cited in Mons (2009), that these tests allow teachers to identify pupils' strengths and weaknesses and helps in improving the structure of teaching content for each school year, which in return caters for an updated curriculum for students. The Ministry of Education (1993, p. 86) also acknowledges this fact, stating that examination can be used to assess each student’s progress for promotion or selection. That measure of individual achievement can also be used diagnostically, to enable students to see what they have accomplished and where additional study is necessary. Teachers can also use the diagnostic information to determine appropriate remedial
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