More Than Just a Score: The Unsung Benefits of Standardized Testing

More Than Just a Score: The Unsung Benefits of Standardized Testing

Originally Written by Matt Mccorcle 

What Standardized Testing Teaches Us

As far as examining students in an impartial, neutral manner, it makes perfect sense for standardized testing to be used for assessments, removing the human bias. But, standardized tests do more than just assess; they teach.

Problem Solving Skills

There’s a real-world value in learning to take standardized tests and being evaluated by them. Test takers must figure out how to use only the information given to them to solve problems. They need to determine what information is relevant, what information is simply extraneous, and then puzzle out a solution.

Time Management and Emotional Self-Management

Additionally, standardized testing is typically timed, which means that not only does the test taker need to solve problems with just the context clues provided, but they also need to do so quickly. They must figure out how to navigate a timed, sometimes high-stakes, test by remaining calm and flexible, and by prioritizing the questions with the allotted time they have. This involves a lot of breaking down complicated problems into simple, bite-sized portions while regulating pace. 


Even before taking a standardized test, there is test preparation involved. No matter the content of the test, the test taker needs to study and have a general concept of what will be tested. There can be a lot of frustration and setbacks involved during test prep. It’s persistence and tenacity through frustration that builds resilience. 

Benefits of Standardized Testing in Education

While the SAT®, for example, was originally created as an IQ test, the standardized testing has expanded to serve education in several additional, meaningful ways. 

Practical Skills

In education, standardized tests assess functional skills used in daily life: reading comprehension, English grammar, and real-world math, for example. But outside of education, these are also common, utile skills that people use in everyday life.

Analytical Progress

Standardized testing can be used to objectively homogenize many aspects of student education— particularly progress. Having a quick metric to assess a student’s progress identifies areas for improvement in individual students. As well, standardized assessments allow for schools to pinpoint weaknesses in curriculum and what is working well in our education continuum so we can determine in which areas time and resources need more investment.

Over time, these test scores act as benchmarks to keep track of and ensure veritable progress with measurable improvement in all aspects of education. 

Academic Aptitude and Achievement

In higher education, standardized testing measures students' adeptness for college-level coursework. ACT® and SAT® scores are the strongest predictors of a student’s first-year performance as well as retention and graduation rates.

Colleges that utilize standardized test scores during the college admissions process are able to use those scores to quickly evaluate a prospective student’s college readiness and determine whether or not they are the right academic fit.

Benefits of Standardized Testing Beyond Education

While standardized testing can teach us a lot of practical education skills, it can also teach us functional skills in business and life, in general. All of the aforementioned skills— problem-solving, time management, emotional self-management, and resiliency— are skills that people need well beyond the walls of a classroom or test center.

An article in Forbes, “What Standardized Testing Can Teach Us About Problem Solving In Business And Life” talks about the correlation between preparing and taking a standardized test and preparing and performing in business. Pacing yourself, improving weakness, and refining strengths—these are essential skills that matter, and acquiring those skills reaps serious benefits beyond secondary education.   

Furthermore, we’ve mentioned that standardized testing goes beyond academic assessments. In order to get your driver’s license, become a nurse, doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer, pilot, police officer (the list goes on), you must pass a standardized test to prove mastery. 

Would you want a surgeon operating on you who passed his coursework based on charm and self-assurance? Would you want a lawyer who got admitted to law school because of her volunteer work at the animal orphanage? I’m just saying, the only fair and practical way to assess mastery is through standardized testing and attaining scores that indicate probable success. Standardized testing removes subjectivity and offers objective evaluations, which society ultimately benefits from.