Dear New President
Before you got to where you are today, you had to go through what I’m currently going through; High School. While a lot of aspects of High School have changed, one thing that hasn’t is standardized testing. Long, confusing, and stressful tests that have the potential to destroy an undefinable number of lives. I think that standardized tests such as SATs should be for the most part revoked, as the tests are inaccurate, and put unnecessary stress on both teachers and students.
The purpose of standardized testing is to assess individuals on what they know. However, standardized testing fails at this ultimate goal. This is because the test is by design a one-size-fits-all type of thing. On paper, if every student in the United States of America is taking the same test, it should yield results that display exactly what people know. But once it’s taken off of the paper, and applied to the 47 million students who are between the 3rd and 12th grade, you might notice that the system falls apart. Because the tests are taken all at once, it doesn’t account for the problems that individual people might be facing, from big problems like depression and sleep deprivation, to seemingly smaller ones such as attitude, low self-esteem, or just having a bad day. Between the ages of 12 and 17, up to 15% of teens suffer from depression (teenhelp.com), and of all the High School students in the US, only 1 in 10 students gets enough sleep (huffingtonpost.com). However, these aren’t the only factors that can affect grades. If a student walks into a test with a bad attitude or low self-esteem, they think they’re going to do poorly, and as a result, they do poorly. After doing poorly on one test, students might get caught in a loop of doing bad, so on the next test they think they’ll do poorly, and they do even worse, etc, which brings us to our next point: stress.
In the world we live in today, very few people are ever truly relaxed, without that nagging fear in the back of their head, or the fast approaching deadline to the project they’ve been putting off for a “better time”. However, standardized testing only adds onto the pre-existing stress that both students and teachers face. Students are always stressing out over these tests, from the moment that the teachers stop what’s being done in class as preparation for the tests, to the moment a week after the test when they’ve resigned to the fact that they will never even get to see the grade they got. And teachers too get stressed out over these tests, as at least in New York, passing regents required for graduation, and often students have trouble passing Due to stress, students and teachers alike can experience irregular eating habits, drowsiness, and an inability to concentrate (brainconnection.brainhq.com).
While taking out standardized testing will be beneficial to everyone, it leaves a large hole where it was before. So to take its place, I propose a different form of testing, which would be both less stressful, and more accurate. These new tests would test students in four different areas: English, Math, Science, and Logic. I think there should be a “Logic” based test, focused on assessing a student’s problem-solving abilities, as well as common-sense. It sounds like it would be pointless, but would you rather hire somebody who knows about the equations used in math or somebody who knows how to apply those equations to real life? On to the next point of these tests being less stressful, that would be achieved by having the teachers put less emphasis on getting a perfect grade, and more emphasis on how to get a better grade, the difference being in the first scenario, the teacher says to do well, and in the second, the teacher explains how to do well. And lastly, the tests would be more accurate, as each test would be broken down into 2-3 different segments, with each segment taking place a couple days apart. By breaking it down, not only does it make each test period shorter (which would reduce stress), but it helps to account for any issues that an individual might have that day. The new test would also be made more accurate by creating a guideline of what material has to be known by county, not country.