Dear Next President,
Today, I’m discussing the injustice of Standardized Testing around the country. The amount of tests we take is unbelievably high. I believe we need to stop basing students’ successes in academics off tests that could be hindered by a stressful environment or people, and instead focus on other records of growth that are gradual.
As stated by The Washington Post, a student from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade takes an average of 112 required standardized tests, and not only the test, but the work approaching it to study is stressful and overwhelming for most kids around the U.S. Students are starting to memorize and not genuinely learn, and teachers are starting to only teach the mandated information to prepare them for the test, failing to extend the subject on information beyond the exam.
I can easily say that I have been subject to memorizing terms the day before a big test at school because I procrastinated to start studying the subject days before. However, the fact that students around the country have to memorize things to be sure they will pass an even bigger exam, like a standardized test, since it will permanently go on their record, is terrifying. Many students will fail to do well on one standardized test after many weeks of hardcore studying due to the stress of, for example, a big crowd of other students taking the test around them, and it will determine their progress for an entire year of curriculum. This is oftentimes despite the fact that they actually succeeded in understanding the information in school. Students are spending an unnecessary amount of time studying for these tests to the point of losing too much sleep or free-time to spend with their friends, which is a normal part of a child’s life. Badly-written questions or a stressful environment are prompting these students to receive a bad score, not their effort or capacity of intelligence at all.
Standardized testing and the potential outcome of the student’s score not only stresses out the student, but also the teacher. Teachers who possibly have a passion in teaching students quit their professions because of the stress of preparing students for standardized testing as well as the effect a big amount of bad scores in one class can have on the teacher. These scores not only represent the student’s progress as a learner but also the educator’s progress as a teacher. This “progress” can be an unrealistic representation of those things when a student does poorly based on circumstances other than their effort.
Not only is the fate of teachers in the hands of students taking standardized tests, but the school’s triumph is too. In turn, standardized tests are even adding stress to schools to repeatedly check their performance on, again, an unrealistic representation of students’ progress, or their scores on these tests. According to Arthur L. Caplan & Lee H. Igel of Forbes Magazine, an increasing number of school administrators as well as teachers' unions have been deciding whether to extend the school year or decrease the amount of time allowed for recess, since they seem to not have enough time allotted to teach the required curriculum for standardized testing. The fact that this testing is starting to cut into children’s free-time is not okay. It is vital for children to have a balanced lifestyle, with time to learn as well as play and interact with other kids.
In conclusion, standardized testing is dulling the learning process, stopping students from learning to their full potential, and preventing them from having a passion for education. It is too overwhelming for students, teachers, and schools. We need to be given less of them, and not allow these impractical representations of our progress in learning decide our futures in academics.