The Case for and Against Standardized Testing

Rabih Edriss, Matthew James Etchells


This research explores the global use of standardized testing with a focus on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) experience in utilizing The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Five semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate teacher perspectives regarding the use of standardized tests, specifically TIMSS.

Four out of five interviewees felt preparing their students for TIMSS in 2014-2015 was a challenging experience, due to mismatch with their curricula. To cover this gap, they attempted to make their students absorb as much pertinent information as possible in a short duration which may jeopardize their ability to foster student creativity in class.

It is possible aligning curricula of different schools to TIMSS topics would enhance fairness and effectiveness of academic evaluation of the schools, teachers’, and students’ performance. This research recommends supporting teachers and providing them with appropriate professional development and well outlined curriculum, instead of solely holding them responsible for poor student achievement on TIMSS.


Student Achievement, Standardized Testing, Qualitative Research

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