Anisha Y. Texas

Standardized Testing

Standardized tests are damaging students' childhood and learning, and are causing too much stress.

Dear future President of the United States,

Imagine a world where teachers wouldn’t keep pressuring you about the importance of standardized testing. Imagine a place where one day wouldn’t determine your future of education. You should abolish standardized testing because they are an unreliable measure of student performance, an imprecise measure of teacher performance, and are causing teachers to lower the curriculum for other subjects.

One reason why we shouldn’t have standardized testing is because they are an unreliable measure of student performance. The student might be having a rough day, and they may be feeling nauseated. The nation can’t take one day to test how intelligent the children in our country are. Some scores may be low because of non-test related things, such as family problems. “A 2001 study published by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and "caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.” (Standardized Testing) No matter how much the student studies, some mishaps just can’t be prevented. The student may have been one of the smartest people in the school, and still score poorly on the test because of non-test related jitters. “Standardized testing evaluates a student’s performance on one particular day and does not take into account external factors. Many people simply do not perform well on tests. Many of these students are smart and understand the content, but it doesn’t show on the test. Many students also develop test anxiety which hinders performance. Finally, there are so many external factors that play into test performance.” (Meador) Why should a non-relevant cause of poor testing reflect back on us? We can’t control how we feel, so how can they count a major test like that when we may have been sick through the whole thing? Bubbling errors occur all the time. What if they messed up our score while scanning the scantrons? We would never know because we never got it back.

Another reason why we shouldn’t have standardized testing is because they are an imprecise measure of teacher performance, yet they are used to reward or punish teachers. Sometimes it isn’t the teacher’s fault that their students did poorly on the test. Kids have different opinions about how important the test is to them, and you can’t punish the teachers for that. I don’t think it is fair for the teachers to be punished, when they are trying the hardest they possibly can to assist those students. “According to a Sep. 2010 report by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, over 17% of Houston teachers ranked in the top category on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills reading test were ranked among the two lowest categories on the equivalent Stanford Achievement Test. The results "were based on the same students, tested in the same subject, at approximately the same time of year, using two different tests." (Standardized Tests) Judging the worthiness of a teacher based on one test is not sufficient at all. For all you know, you may be firing an excellent teacher, who just happened to have unsatisfactory students.

My last and final reason why we should get rid of standardized testing is because schools are drastically narrowing the curriculum of other subjects in order to teach more math and reading. Even though we have a big test at the end of the year, that doesn’t mean we should only focus on those topics. We have a future, and what if that future involves science or social studies? Those students will be at a disadvantage once they attend college because of the lack of education. “According to the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, 64 percent of Americans (and 67 percent of public school parents) say there is “too much emphasis on testing.” Only 14 percent rated standardized testing as a “very important ” factor in measuring school effectiveness, and 55 percent (66 percent of parents) oppose test scores being used to evaluate teacher performance.” (Walker) It may be the biggest test of the year, but our futures are much brighter and longer than that. Giving the students knowledge of everything will help them through high school and college. We shouldn’t let our dreams fly away from us because of one test per year. “A national 2007 study by the Center on Education Policy reported, that since 2001, forty four percent of school districts have reduced the time spent on science, social studies, and the arts by an average of 145 minutes per week in order to focus on reading and math. This test-centered atmosphere has forced teachers to concentrate on “teaching for the test,” rather than giving students a well rounded assessment and understanding of the material covered.” (Angelini) That is 2 hours and 25 minutes per week! Imagine how much it has grown to now. This is why we need to put an end to standardized testing right away. Getting rid of a bunch of curriculum is not going to help us, but instead would damage our learning process.

In conclusion, I believe that removing standardized testing will be beneficial to our country. It would make students less stressed out, and give them a chance to pursue their dreams and have a better life. Knowing that one day of testing doesn’t determine how smart you are will make many students feel less pressured. Students as well as teachers would be relieved if one test wouldn’t determine everything. All of the children and teachers in America would be beaming with joy if their prayers were finally answered.

Works Cited

Angelini, Tommaso. "Cons of Standardized Testing." Observatory / Science Survey. N.p., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

Meador, Derrick. "What You Need to Know About Standardized Testing." Education. N.p., 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

By Mar. 2002, after a Surge in Testing and the Passing of NCLB, That Figure Dropped to 47%. "Standardized Tests -" ProConorg Headlines. N.p., 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

Walker, Tim. "Poll: Americans Want Less Standardized Testing and More School Funding - NEA Today." NEA Today. N.p., 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.