NB. Some answers appear to be for a question I did not ask, namely, "Why is standardized testing bad?" Indeed, these answers tend to underscore the premise of my actual question, which can be found above.
As a foreigner who has spent some time in the US, it seems to me that in the US, there is this knee-jerk hostility against standardized testing.
(I don't have proper evidence for this assertion. And it is of course not true that everyone in the US absolutely abhors standardized testing. But nonetheless I think we can safely say that most Americans consider standardized testing a bad idea. I base my assertion only on anecdotal evidence. Take a look for example at the videos that show up in a search for 'standardized testing' on YouTube. Or some of the "answers" below.)
My question is: What are some historical reasons for this?
For example, in the Confucian countries in East Asia, it is possible to explain why standardized testing is widely accepted by appealing to the historical fact that there was the imperial examination system. (Now I don't know if this explanation is the best explanation or if it is even correct, but it is one I hear often.)
How might one explain, through history (and perhaps otherwise), why there is such immense hostility against standardized testing in the US?
Here is some more context. I was inspired to ask this question after coming across this passage in an interview with the economist Claudia Goldin:
The education system in the early 20th century was a decentralized system that was very open, albeit with some important exceptions, such as African Americans and certain immigrant groups. But by and large, relative to Europe, America was educating all its children. European visitors would come to the United States and be shocked by how America was wasting its resources. European countries were cherry picking which students would get a good education; they set very high standards and had national exams. We didn't. We had more of a free-for-all, grassroots, local system in which until recently there were few state exams for graduation. That served us very well by getting a large number of students to graduate from high school. By the 1950s, U.S. high school enrollment and graduation rates were relatively high, much higher than Europe.
But then various European countries started looking more like the United States; they began to pull more individuals into high schools, some via technical schools but also by expanding more general education. And many of them did so without abandoning the higher standards of the more elitist period. The United States, on the other hand, has had a very hard time adopting uniform standards. The idea has been that the different parts of the country have different demands, so we don't need to have national standards. And it's true that we do have a far more heterogeneous population. But the enormous virtue of decentralization has more recently caused some difficulty.