Sarah B. Texas

Standardized Tests

The federal and state governments are giving students more tests then they can handle.

 Dear Future President of the United States,

Standardized tests should be put to a permanent stop. From exams, PSATs, SATs, and standardized tests, students are sinking in assessments. Your policies should allow students to take less tests, the states need to find a new way of measuring a student’s progress, and they also need to find a new way to monitor schools.

At the very young age of 8, students begin standardized testing. As a result of this, they become extremely stressed, because if they don’t pass they will be forced to repeat the grade. “Recent research shows that more than 33% of US elementary and secondary students experience some test anxiety, up from 10-25% in past decades” (GreatSchools Staff) Middle and high school students are required to take tests throughout the year as well as midterms, finals and PSATs/SATs. They can be tested on the same unit up to 4 times. “When she [the teacher] asked her students to write down what they thought about the test, one student wrote, “ ‘I feel like we have to take all these tests and if I pass the tests I live and if I don’t, I die.’ ” (Mulholland) With all this testing comes worrying and stressing about executing good grades on these tests, which is unnecessary for their mental stability.

Students’ performance on tests can determine whether or not they pass a grade. These test are also calculated to show student’s progress throughout the years they have been taking them. “... compare groups of students from one year to the next but they don’t tell you about individual student progress … They don’t tell you whether students are learning critical thinking skills or how engaged students are in the learning process.” (Smart Money) Standardized tests are only based on one day and can be inaccurate because a student could be having a bad testing day and score poorly on it. Imagine an all ‘A’ student in this scenario receiving a very low grade on one standardized test. Even though they have been making amazing grades all year, one standardized test could be used against them when going to the next grade.

Teachers are given information from the state to teach students in their classes. The information the state gives will be included on the standardized test, so teachers are forced into teaching only the given information. “The current system of accountability, which uses the same tests to measure trends in achievement and to evaluate teachers, necessarily promotes teaching to the test, according to Derek Neal, an economics professor at the University of Chicago.” (Mulholland) Based on the scores that students received will be reflected upon the teacher and the schools as well. State test grades determine whether or not a teacher should remain teaching at the school or receive an increase or decrease in their salary. Poor test grades can also determine if a school should lose funding from the state as well. “One of the reasons standardized tests assembled in the office cubicles of Pearson, McGraw-Hill and other test manufacturers can’t do the job that most needs doing. They can’t measure and attach a meaningful number to the quality of original thought.” (Strauss) Students need to be taught more than what’s on the test to expand their critical thinking and spark original thought.

Some people might say we need standardized tests in order for students, teachers, and schools to be measured on their performance. However, teachers are forced to teach kids only to pass a test instead of teaching them learning techniques. If the government and states put a stop to standardized testing students will feel less pressured to pass a standardized test to move on to the next grade. They will really absorb the content being taught without these tests.


Sarah Brown

Works Cited

GreatSchools Staff. "State Standardized Test Scores: Issues to Consider | Parenting." Parenting. N.p., 3 Mar. 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

Mulholland, By Quinn. "The Case Against Standardized Testing - Harvard Political Review." Harvard Political Review The Case Against Standardized Testing Comments. N.p., 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

"Smart Money: How High-stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our World--for the Better." Choice Reviews Online 53.01 (2015): n. pag. How High-stakes Standardized Testing Is Harming Our Children's Mental Health. July 2015. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Strauss, Valerie. "The Important Things Standardized Tests Don’t Measure." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.