Where Did Standardized Tests Come From, Anyway?
A rich history lies behind standardized testing, which has been used in our country since the time of the First World War. In fact, they were first used to place soldiers in different occupations during the war effort. Although this tid bit of information only scratches the surface of our history lesson. Standardized testing has been around long before the U.S. picked it up.
Standardized testing made its first ever appearance in China around 2200 BC. Candidates for governmental jobs had to fill out examinations testing their knowledge of Confucian philosophy and poetry. Eventually, standardized testing moved into the Western world, where examiners preferred to give essays, a practice coming from the ancient Greeks. And as the Industrial Revolution took school-aged kids off of the farms and factories and put them behind desks, standardized tests emerged as an easy way to test large numbers of students quickly.
Today, the use of standardized testing has evolved. Now these tests are used to put children in a rank, to measure how well students are learning course material, to rank schools in how well they are teaching the curriculum, and to determine admission into higher education programs… just to name a few. Heck, we even use standardized testing to prepare students for more standardized testing. I think it is definitely safe to say we have become a “test dependent” nation.