Kevin S. New Jersey

Standardized Tests Need to Change

This letter explains why standardized testing is bad for our education.

 Dear President,

Preparation for standardized tests take away weeks or even months of time that could be used for learning new concepts. The wasted stress put on kids for weeks and weeks is a huge problem. It is critical that we form a different way of grading kids that is not a monotonous and tiring standardized test. It is even “unfair towards both foreign language speakers and disabled students” stated by Procon. The best way to grade kids in a proper way is to have the teachers grade the students based on what they did all year rather than getting ready for a dreadful method of grading these kids. To drastically improve or even fix the education system, something must be done about standardized tests.

A substantial problem with these tests is how much time it takes away from class time. states that “Some schools allocate more than a quarter of the year's instruction to test prep.” Even if it’s only some schools, that means many kids are missing out on learning new, useful things. They could be getting above grade level learning these things, but they need to make sure the teacher keeps their job by making the kids do well on the test. You may still be thinking it’s only a few schools, but every new trend in education can start with just one school, and though it’s not as much, many schools, including mine, are noticeably having to stop their lesson or change plans because they need to break out the test preparation packets.

It takes a multitude amount of different characteristics to be a good student, and standardized testing only evaluates a miniscule part of it. Procon adds that standardized tests miss out on measuring “Creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity." School is preparation to become a good and knowledgeable human being, and it definitely takes these important characteristics to do that. With the teachers doing the grading, they can factor that into their grades because they get to see them five days a week, and get to know who they are as a person and a student.

If you can sum up why standardized testing is loathed by many people in one word, it would be stress. It’s in both the students and the teachers. Omegalearning, a website that aims to provide the best education, says that “Fourth-grade veteran teachers were requesting transfers, saying that they could not stand the pressure of administering the high-stakes elementary exams, and teachers recognized for excellence were leaving public schools, feeling their talents were better utilized in private schools where test preparation did not rule the curriculum.” Teachers quitting because of this broken system is saying that we need to fix this system, and taking away the stress of a standardized test will be a huge benefit to everyone involved. A way to reduce or even eliminate this stress is to take away this test and base grades off of the learning done in school.

One point that gets brought up a lot about the issues of the control of teachers with grades is that the teachers would favor their students and be biased towards them.. However, standardized test don’t fix that because some teachers as reported by washingtonpost, have been cheating and giving their kids better grades to make sure they keep their job. With the stress brought up earlier, it would almost encourage the teachers to cheat more than with no standardized tests. Also, would you rather have our student’s grades be graded by certified teachers who do this for a living, or as claimed by Procon, the “under-educated, under-paid, temporary workers” who grade the open ended portions of these tests. With no standardized tests, the student’s grades will be in better hands.

It is illogical that we have kept this standardized testing system, and change is needed. The teachers grading these students will be a much more reasonable and fair way to give students the grades they deserve. There will be less time for preparing, and more time learning. A standardized test will put less stress on both the teachers and students so they can put more focus into the daily learning allowing the kids to achieve better grades. So how would you want the adults of the future to be educated?


Kevin S.

Brielle Elementary

Eighth Grade Citizens

The students in the eighth grade who wished to post their letters are featured here. Students worked for several weeks in both Social Studies and Language Arts classes, crafting their arguments. They participated in Penpal Schools Decision 2016 as well as Media Literacy Week.

All letters from this group →