Dear Future President,
"Only use a #2 pencil," "Be sure to write all your answers in the answer booklet," "fill in each bubble completely, and make a dark mark." If you were to ask any student who has taken a standardized test in their lifetime, they would be able to tell you that these phrases are just a small portion of the rules and regulations that a student hears before beginning a standardized test. Students in our country spend an absurd amount of time taking standardized tests. Last year alone, I spent countless hours sitting in a classroom bubbling in answers and writing open responses on standardized tests. Some of these tests included both the English and Math MCAS, and the PSAT. Considering how many hours kids spend taking standardized tests, it is obvious that these valuable hours could be dedicated to other things. Overall, I believe standardized tests should be eliminated because they waste time, cause stress, and are not useful for students futures.
To begin, standardized testing wastes a lot of time. Students are only at school for a certain amount of time each school year, and every hour spent in school is valuable learning time. The average standardized test takes about 3 hours to complete, and this doesn't include time spent listening to rules or writing your name and your schools name on the test and answer booklets. According to a comprehensive study done by the Council of the Great City Schools, students spend 20-25 hours each school year taking standardized tests, not to mention the average amount of 112 mandatory standardized tests students take between PreK and 12th grade. These hours are time that students could be learning valuable life skills, or taking other classes that spark creativity, such as art or music. While the actual taking of the test wastes time, preparing for the test wastes even more. On average, a month and a half is spent preparing students for standardized tests. This is time that could, again, be spent teaching students other topics that will actually be used later in their lives.
Secondly, standardized testing also creates a lot of stress for students. Even though standardized testing scores are not factored into a students report card grades, standardized tests, at least in my state, determine whether or not you "pass" the grade in which you took the test. Failing the 10th grade MCAS will make you ineligible for graduation, until you retake the test and receive a passing score. Knowing that a failing score will result in high school students not being to graduate, will obviously create stress for these test takers. High school students are not the only ones stressed about standardized testing. In my state, students as young as third grade are required to take MCAS. Since so much time is spend preparing for these tests, especially in elementary school, students become stressed about the test, worrying that they will not understand the material, or the format of the test. This added stress is unnecessary to put on students, and can easily be removed with the elimination of standardized testing.
Lastly, standardized tests are not useful for students futures. When's the last time you heard of someone getting into an Ivy League school because they had really good MCAS scores? While MCAS scores are helpful for teachers and school districts to see how they rank based on others in their state, these scores are not helpful for individual students, who are the ones putting in the time to prepare for, and actually take the tests. Also, these scores don't always reflect student growth and achievement because the tests are very specific, and do not cover a wide range of topics. Overall, I believe standardized testing wastes our time, creates unnecessary stress, and is not useful for our futures. I believe that, with your help, we can eliminate standardized testing, gain back our wasted time, relieve our stress, take control of our futures, and, most importantly, make learning much more than just bubbling in a correct answer, with a #2 pencil of course.
Thank you for reading. I hope you take into consideration the many problems that standardized testing causes.