Katlyn P. Yang Minnesota

Standardized Tests are Useless

Standardized testing is not effective in the United States, it is also blocking us from using creativity and innovating.

Dear Future President,

The United States should banish standardized testing because it creates stress and fear for students, it also does not provide feedback on how to improve or prove anything other than a student’s ability to take a test. Are standardized tests really effective in the United States? These tests are useless.

Standardized testing is a form of test that requires all students to answer the same questions, the same way, in the same order to be compared by performance to another student on the other side of the country if they took that same test. According to Baltimore Sun, a news source in Maryland, for every $20,000 of family income a student's score went up by a substantial amount. This is unfair because what if a student doesn't have the same advantages as another student? A student could come from a low-income family or from a bad part of the city and does not have money for tutors or the best education to do well. The other student could come from a rich family with the best education and money for tutors. Some students also don’t do well on test taking, everybody's brain is different. Standardized testing isn’t fair to all students.

Majority of standardized tests are multiple choice, in fact Frederick J. Kelly says, “These tests are too crude to be used, and should be abandoned.” This from the man who created multiple choice tests. According to ProCon.org, in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) increased standardized testing in all 50 states.Time for these NCLB tests are cutting into curriculum, leaving 44% of school districts reduced time spent on science, social studies, and arts by an average of 145 minutes per week on math and reading. These tests are cutting creativity and blocking us from improving and innovating. U.S students went from being ranked 12th in math to 27th in math, in the world. Brookings Institution found that 50-80% year-over-year score improvements were by short term memory and “caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term learning.” We should actually learn things instead of memorizing it for a test.

Without standardized tests, policy makers would rely on different tests scored by different schools and different teachers. Standardized tests are graded by machines so there is no bias, which means no creativity when a student has a handwritten response. According to Caroline M. Hoxby, PhD, in 2002, standardized tests only cost 0.1% of K-12 education spending ($5.81 a student per year), you get a lot of useful information at a low cost that dosen’t consume alot of time. But we still have 7 hours of school and on top of that homework/projects, how could you expect us to be comprehending that amount of information in that much amount of time? Are we really learning or is it just our short term memory kicking in to pass a test?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in 2015 states China is at the top, and they have a long tradition of standardized tests. But why are we still ranked 24th if we use standardized tests as well? This proves standardized testing is not effective.

In Finland they have less homework, fewer class days, and less stress but they’re still ranked 6th in PISA as of 2015, compare that to the United States ranked at the 24th. Finland also has the same amount of teachers as New York City but a lot less students, a smaller class means teachers could focus and help students understand what they are learning more. The United States could replace all standardized testing with “Portfolio based assessments” instead, it focuses on the long-term improvement of the student instead of a “short” test taken over a few hours that determines what you know at the time.

Albert Einstein did poorly in school and on tests, no one would’ve predicted he’d go on to win a Nobel prize in physics. Standardized testing is not needed in the United States education system, it only tries to determine whether a child is a failure or not. It cuts off science, arts and creativity to provide for test funding. We need to eliminate standardized testing.


Katlyn P. Yang

Saint Paul, MN

St. Paul Central High School

Approaching Analysis - Hours 2 and 3

This is a sophomore honors class at St. Paul Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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