High-Stakes Standardized Testing in Schools: The Pros and Cons – Written by Google’s Bard

I decided is was time to try artificial intelligence for article writing so I took Google’s Bard for a spin. I gave it the prompt “Write a 1000 word article on the pluses and minuses of high-stakes standardized testing in schools” and a few seconds later it offered the article below. See what you think. Can you tell it was written by AI and not a human educator like myself? If I were working the education beat for most media outlets, I would be a bit nervous. I also asked for a “a short story in Swedish about a day at the beach.” What I got was a valuable lesson for someone like myself who has intermediate Swedish skills. Share with foreign language teachers you know. If you want to try it yourself just click here.

High-Stakes Standardized Testing in Schools: The Pros and Cons by Google’s Bard, prompt by Dr. Doug Green

Standardized testing has been a part of American education for over a century. In recent decades, however, the use of standardized tests has become increasingly widespread, with many states and school districts now using them to make high-stakes decisions about student promotion, teacher evaluation, and school funding.

High-stakes standardized tests are those that have significant consequences for students, teachers, or schools. For example, a student who fails a high-stakes test may be held back a grade, a teacher whose students perform poorly on a high-stakes test may be fired, or a school that does not meet its performance goals on a high-stakes test may lose funding.

There are both pros and cons to using high-stakes standardized testing in schools.

Pros of High-Stakes Standardized Testing

Accountability: High-stakes standardized tests can help to hold schools and teachers accountable for student learning. By requiring schools to demonstrate that their students are meeting certain standards, high-stakes tests can help to ensure that all students have access to a quality education.
Data for improvement: High-stakes standardized tests can provide valuable data that can be used to improve instruction and student learning. For example, test scores can be used to identify areas where students are struggling and to target interventions.
Fairness: High-stakes standardized tests can help to ensure that all students are treated fairly, regardless of their background or circumstances. By giving all students the same test, high-stakes tests can help to level the playing field.
Motivation: High-stakes standardized tests can motivate students to work hard and achieve their goals. The prospect of failing a high-stakes test can be a powerful incentive for students to study and do their best.

Cons of High-Stakes Standardized Testing

Overemphasis on test scores: When high-stakes tests are used to make important decisions about students, teachers, or schools, there is a tendency to overemphasize test scores. This can lead to a narrowing of the curriculum and a focus on test preparation at the expense of other important learning goals.
Inaccuracy: High-stakes standardized tests are not perfect measures of student learning. They can be affected by a variety of factors, such as test anxiety, fatigue, and socioeconomic status. As a result, high-stakes test scores can sometimes be inaccurate and misleading.
Disadvantaged students: High-stakes standardized tests can disadvantage students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These students may have less access to resources and support, and they may be more likely to experience test anxiety. As a result, they may score lower on high-stakes tests than their more privileged peers.
Stress and anxiety: High-stakes standardized tests can cause stress and anxiety for students, teachers, and parents. This stress can have a negative impact on learning and well-being.


The use of high-stakes standardized testing in schools is a complex issue with both pros and cons. There is no easy answer to the question of whether or not high-stakes testing is a good thing. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use high-stakes standardized testing is a political one that must be made by each state and school district.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to reduce the reliance on high-stakes standardized testing. Some states have eliminated high-stakes testing altogether, while others have moved to reduce the stakes associated with testing. This movement is based on the belief that high-stakes testing is not an effective way to improve education.

The debate over high-stakes standardized testing is likely to continue for many years to come. There is no easy solution to this complex issue. However, it is important to have a thoughtful and informed discussion about the pros and cons of high-stakes testing so that we can make the best decisions for our students.

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