Dear Mr. or Madam President:
This is a difficult time for the American people, welcoming a new President to the country and learning how they are going to handle situations as they occur. I may just be one person in this big country, but I do have an opinion that affects most high school students in their rise to becoming more responsible. I am a seventeen year old girl from a small town in Louisiana about to graduate from high school. Though my grades in high school were good; I still have to take either the ACT or the SAT from my state to determine which college I can attend. This would not concern me if I were a good test taker, or could handle the pressure of taking a standardized test that determines my entire future. Without a good score I might not get into college and be able to become what I have dreamed for most of my life, an elementary teacher. The fact of the matter is that standardized tests measure a student's testing ability instead of the quality of education a student has received.
High school students participate in many different standardized every year to get into college. According to Time magazine, the ACT and the SAT are the most frequent standardized tests for students to take today. This type of testing originated in China and was soon brought to the United States for businesses. The National Education Association has strong opinions on how standardized tests are used to help and hurt students; they have done several studies to back up their arguments. They say that today standardized tests are a necessary part of tests a student has to face before college. Only fourteen percent of American parents, though, think that standardized testing is important. This means that most students that are having to participate in these tests and their parents are thinking that standardized tests are not fair. According to educational website pro-con.org, supporters of standardized tests believe that they are a reliable and objective measure of student achievement. The ACT website directly says it measures "what a student learns in high school to determine their academic readiness for college"; however, the ACT cannot possibly contain all of the knowledge from high school. If this was the case then all students going into college should be able to know how to answer and complete the tests with no problem. I do believe that young adults should have to take a test to determine their knowledge; I just wish the test was in a format, language, and contained information that any high school student that has taken the necessary courses would understand.
In my opinion, the best way to help with creating standardized tests more understandable for a high school student would be to actually make the tests over facts that students know. Most high school students can work a math problem that is reasonable without a certain equation, read a story in a good amount of time, pick out mistakes in a paragraph or two, and tell what kind of element is labeled in a periodic table. So, these tests should not be the hardest math problems, the longest story with little time to finish, and only graphs with vocabulary that, unless you're a science teacher, you don't understand. In tests like the ACT, students have limits on time, like thirty-five minutes to finish forty-five questions (act.org). There are many ways that you can help to change standardized testing for the better for the students taking it.
The process should be more realistic and be what kids will know, because that's all we are, we're just kids who are required to take a difficult test that we do not always obtain the knowledge to pass. Yes, I agree that maybe we learned some equations, and ways to break down science graphs as freshman, but does that mean that we are going to know exactly how to answer the questions without adequate preparation? I realize there are prep classes and practice tests that students can take, but if a student has taken all of the required classes and passed with good grades, should they have to take the prep classes? I have experienced these tests, I have good grades and am an honor student, so why do I have to worry about not having the greatest ACT score? I'm not one of those people who has never picked up a book or studied for a test; I try my best at anything that I do. At this point in any senior's life, they are concerned with getting into college and starting their rise to becoming fully enveloped into adult life. As students we find inspiration in many different things, some like this quote by Carol Dweck, "Test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but don't tell you where a student could end up." This gives students hope that standardized test scores will not control who they become, but if the test was more realistic then students wouldn't have to worry.