Large Scale Assessment In Schooling Also Has Side Effects

Once Results Come Out For Major Educational Assessments Like The International Student Assessment Program (pisa), Which Mainly Evaluates The Awareness And Abilities Of 15-year-old Students In Reading, Math And Science, The Emphasis Is Always On Which Countries Have Scored The Highest.

Country Education Systems Which Do Well On This Test Are Often Presented As Models For The Rest Of The World. For Instance, The Uk Has Pledged $54.2 Million To Help 8,000 Schools Implement Pisa’s Top Performer, Shanghai’s Math Teaching Methods By 2020. The United Kingdom Has Adopted Chinese Textbooks As Well.

Many Educators Have Encountered Difficulties Emulating The Top Pisa Scorers. Big Education Evaluations – Known In The Educational World As Large-scale Assessments – Come With Some Severe And Harmful Side-effects In The Work Of Our And Our Colleagues. Students In Countries That Did The Best On The Pisa – Whose Results Were Released On Dec. 3 – Often Have Lower Well-being, As Measured By The Satisfaction Of The Students With Life And School. Six Of The Top 10 Readable Countries Have Student Well-being Rates Below The Overall Organization For Economic Co-operation And Development.
It Indicates To Us The Need To Take A More Thorough Look At What Large-scale Tests Such As The Pisa Actually Mean, And Why Countries With High Pisa Scores Often Rank Low In Well Being.

Another Issue Is Whether Such Assessments Will Have As Much Influence As They Do In Influencing Education Policy And Practice, Or Assessing The “efficiency” Of The Education System In One Country Over Another.

Here Are A Variety Of Problems That Have Been Shown To Arise When Too Much Focus Is Put On The Outcomes Of Broad Educational Assessments Such As The Pisa.


The Definition Of Quality Education May Be Skewed By Tests Of Big Education. Strong Pisa-scoring Education Systems Such As Singapore, Finland, Korea And Shanghai, For Example, Are Regarded As Strong-quality Programs. But We Believe The Standard Of Education Is Much More Than Any Measure Of Education Can Determine.

Large-scale Educational Tests Can Also Distort What Is Actually Taught In Schools By Narrowing It Down To A Limited Number Of Subjects Evaluated: Typically Reading, Math And Science In Some Cases. While Other Topics Are Neglected, Such As Music, Literature, Social Sciences, And Languages.

Furthermore, These Tests Can Distort Instruction By Inducing Teachers To Teach To The Test. For Example, The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, Which Introduced Assessments To U.s. Schools As Accountability Mechanisms, Has Resulted In Increased Teaching Time On The Subjects Studied. Certain Critical Skills, Such As Imagination, Problem-solving And Information Management, Were Overlooked Though.

Carries Out Corruption And Cheating

Large-scale Evaluations Generate Opportunities And Pressure Which Could Lead To Corruption And Cheating. In 2019, For Instance, 50 Americans Were Charged In A College Admission Scandal That Involved Cheating On College Entrance Exams As Well As Bribing Their Children’s Way Into College.

The Cheating Isn’t Confined To The United States. Cheating On The National College Entrance Exam And Broad Scale Tests Is A Common Phenomenon In China.

Aggravates Inequity

Large-scale Assessments Can Be Skewed Toward Students From Poor Communities And Minority Communities And Favor Advantaged Learners. Take For Example Sat. The Scores Have A Clear Positive Association With Family Income, Which Means Higher Scores For Students From Affluent Families Than For Those From Low-income Families.

As A Result, Under-income Students Are Not Given The Same Opportunities To Attend College Or End Up Attending A Less Prestigious College. This Has Long-term Socioeconomic Effects As College Graduation And There Are Significant Disparities In Lifetime Earning Prospects In Seeking Advanced Grades. The Ability To Attend Top-tier Colleges Greatly Increases The Likelihood Of Being Accepted For Advanced Degrees And Graduation. If These Incentives Are Skewed Due To Unfair Large-scale Evaluations And Unequal Incentives, This Can Only Help To Intensify Discrimination And Injustice.

Large-scale Evaluations Are Used In Many Countries As Gatekeepers For Accessing Higher Education. This Leads To A Emphasis On High Scores For Parents, Teachers, Colleges, Media, Politicians And Students. Scores Are Then Associated With The Worthiness Of Students. When Scores Become Equated With Worth, It Can Demoralize And Cause Psychological Damage To Students As Well As Teachers And Other Stakeholders.

Exam-induced Suicide In Places Such As Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong And China Has Been Registered. However, On Other Large-scale Tests Such As The Pisa, These Countries Continue To Be The High Achievers.

Potential Overlooked

Large-scale Tests Can Provide Valuable Education Policy Information, But Over-reliance On Test Results Can Cause Problems. When The Emphasis Is On The Scores Of Students And The Ranking Of Countries, Other Important Issues May Be Overlooked, Such As Creativity, Creative Thinking, Social-emotional Well-being And Critical Thinking. These Treasured Educational Outcomes Are Things That Large-scale Assessments Often Fail To Capture.