I've come to realize that standardized tests serve mostly to make dreadful forms of teaching appear successful.
When learning is enslaved by the quantifiable, we fall victim to the McNamara Fallacy which refers to the quantifying of success while ignoring other variables - particularly variables that are inconveniently difficult to measure.
Charles Handy unloads a powerful indictment on those who subscribe to valuing only what can be measured:
The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is ok as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.This kind of robotic, reduce everything to numbers, mad science has the education system so distracted, we've almost entirely lost the plot.
I'll go a step further - standardized testing is dehumanizing learning; which, if you think about it, is utter lunacy.
Sometime ago, Ric Murry left a comment on my post Bubble Sheet Season, and I think he summed up this mess nicely:
I propose the reason for all the data is that there are people who love numbers more than people. Therefore, they focus on data and not students. They seek to make teaching a scientific process instead of a artful practice; likely because they lack people skills. They are afraid to truly interact with others. They have found a home in education, where kids are no longer the focus. How can that be?
Sad thing is, the majority of people are afraid of their math skills, so they believe that someone who can discuss numbers must be smarter, and therefore correct. Bad assumption.