The Value of Standardized Testing: A Perspective From Cognitive Psychology

Aaron S. Benjamin, Hal Pashler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent years have seen an increased push toward the standardization of education in the United States. At the federal level, both major national political parties have generally supported the institution of national guidelines known as Common Core—a curriculum developed by states and by philanthropic organizations. A key component of past and present educational reform measures has been standardization of tests. However, increased reliance upon tests has elicited criticism, limiting their popular acceptance and widespread adoption. Tests are not only useful for assessment purposes, however. The goal of this article is to review evidence from the recent literature in psychology that indicates that tests produce direct educational benefits for students. A reconsideration of how and how many tests are implemented based on these principles may help soften the focus on testing solely as a means of assessment and help promote wider recognition of the role of tests as potent instructional interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Common Core
  • education
  • education reform
  • learning
  • memory
  • standardized testing
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration

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