Kendall C. Michigan

Standardized Testing

Standardized Testing

Dear Future President,

Stress is undeniably one of the largest topics discussed in schools today. Caused from testing, time management and personal problems, students have some of the most stressful lives. Throughout their high school career, students stress about the day they will take the SAT or ACT, in which their score on that will be a deciding factor on what colleges they get accepted into. Standardized testing is a highly controversial and well-debated subject. The average student in America’s public schools take a total of 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-kindergarten to the end of twelfth grade. That eats up about 25 hours every school year. Much of today’s society believe standardized tests provide an accurate depiction of how well a student does in school and teacher effectiveness. On the other hand, I believe a single test on a single day does not prove anything but how well the student takes a test. Many students simply do not perform well on tests. They may be smart and understand the content, but the test score does not reflect their depth of information. With that being said, standardized tests do not necessarily demonstrate a student’s knowledge, but rather their test taking ability. We need to eliminate standardized tests as a whole, and by doing so it will eliminate an immense amount of stress not only for students, but teachers as well.

Believe it or not, standardized tests affect not only students, but also educators. After speaking to my mom, teacher and counselor of 25+ years, she said that “ It forces us teachers to ‘teach to the tests’ and not focus on what is really important. It gives us a limited time to teach things that will be useful in our students future, because we need to prepare them for the SAT they take junior year. Also, if us educators don’t prepare you for that, the score you receive, good or bad, affects your future.” So much pressure to ‘teach to the tests’ takes the joy out of learning for both students and educators. The pressures educators feel to do so are increasing every school year, and soon, we will be spending too much time on standardized test prep and no time on the given curriculum. Learning will be something students nor educators look forward to and enjoy. Adding on to the idea that standardized tests are limiting educators from teaching what is truly important, “American schools are very good at preparing their students for standardized tests. For that reason, they fail to prepare them for higher education and the knowledge economy.” Furthermore, Stacie Starr- a ninth grade intervention specialist in Ohio, announced that she was quitting because teachers have to spend too much time teaching kids to take and pass tests. How much more does it take for you to realize the effect standardized testing is having on our educators and students?

Secondly, I don’t believe it is fair how a single test on a single day has the capability to affect your entire life. For example, if you need at least a 30 on the ACT to get into your dream college and you score a 28, that can affect your plans for life profoundly. From just personal experience, and facts show it too, the majority of students in today’s society develop high test anxiety. Anxiety is defined as a mental disorder that has the power to interfere with one’s daily activities. Therefore; affecting the way one may perform on a given test. According to education researcher Gregory J. Cizek, anecdotes abound “illustrating how testing produces gripping anxiety in even the brightest students, and makes young students vomit or cry, or both.” Also, On March 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that “test related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.” Not just that, but there are so many external factors that play into test performance. For example, if one does not eat breakfast or gets in a fight with their parents the morning of the test, that will obviously alter their performance on the test. Overall, standardized tests generate so much stress between students and teachers alike, it leads to feelings of negativity directed at school and learning in general.

Lastly, going along with my last topic, standardized tests only evaluate a student’s individual performance, not their growth through the school year. By doing that, it is doing a disservice to the teacher and the student. The educator spent all that time throughout the year helping the student start from the bottom, working his or her way up to the top. I believe showing a student's growth through the school year is more effective for both the student and the teacher because you are able to see how much you improved and the effectiveness of the teacher. Versus, spending all your time through the semester working hard, and then failing one standardized test because you were unable to score proficiently. Teacher AND student performance scores should be evaluated based on your growth and how much you learned, not a score on a single test.

As the new President of the United States, you need to take action and resolve the issue with standardized testing. They are taking away from the joys of learning and putting an overload of pressure on educators. It isn't fair that one single test has the power to affect your entire future and is causing so much stress on students I don't believe it is worth it. By having standardized tests not be mandatory for college admission and acceptance, you will be taking a huge stress off not only students, but also educators backs. Students will be excited to learn and teachers will take pleasure in teaching. In the long run, standardized tests prove nothing except how well of a test taker you are personally.

Works Cited