Isaac D. Colorado

Standardized Testing

My thoughts on standardized testing.

Dear President,

An issue that greatly concerns me, as well as other highly motivated students, is the abomination we call standardized testing. As a country we have so many standardized tests and they don't seem to be doing us any good! Look at Finland, they are one of the world's best performers on the very few standardized tests they participate in. Their students report less stressed, but still achieve higher academically than the students in America. It is about time we get rid of these prehistoric tests that only discourage uniqueness, and instead focus on finding the talents hidden in the students, the future generation of our country.

Albert Einstein, one of the brightest and most profound minds in recent memory, once said, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live the rest of its life believing it is stupid.” At first this sounds like a rather odd analogy, but if you look at what Einstein was trying to get at, we can see a perfect representation of a modern student. Fish are different from monkeys, so it would be unfair to judge the fish on its climbing ability, and the monkey on its swimming ability. Likewise, every student is different and if you define a student based on one or two subjects that they may or may not be good at, you can convince them that they are stupid based on a test score. This is the danger of standardized testing.

In a survey conducted by NBC news, it was found that teens, on average, reported their stress levels at a 5.8/10 while adults, on average, reported at 5.1/10. What might be the case? Why does a high school kid report 7% more stressed than an adult who needs to pay bills, pay rent, vote, do taxes, and theoretically should have way more stress than a high school kid? Many students and educators contribute this extra stress to testing, and more specifically standardized testing. Students dread taking these tests for fear of humiliation and end up stressing out about these tests even more due to already stressful load school places upon them. It is completely medieval to make kids stress out this much on top of their crushing workload.

Finally, standardized tests do not tell us as much information as they should. The main purpose of standardized test was to test whether or not students are learning what they should. Nowadays parents agree with the fact that standardized tests are a terrible idea, and they take their kids out on the days that they have those tests. That takes out a vital piece of data for these tests. Then there are the kids who do not care. Some of these kids purposely answer questions wrong because they have no idea how much it could possibly affect the school district and staff. This is yet another piece of valuable data, wasted… Take out those pieces and we are left with a, next to useless, set of data. A more useful thing would be for teachers and schools to report their letter grades as those are more accurate, due to the affect they have directly on students.

Overall, standardized tests offer very few qualities that improve our education, and they promote so much negativity as a result. I personally feel totally out of my element when I get thrown into a reading or writing test, because it is not my strong suit. I personally excel in the physics and art department, but things such as those are never tested. Every student has been gifted with different abilities, and it is completely barbaric to test us all on the same one or two subjects. I think that it is about time that the public education system stops hunting for money and grants, and instead start focusing on us. The students, and the future of America. My educational worth should not be based off of a number, but instead on my mind and my talents.