Standardize Testing: Is It Worth It?
Many students in our society today have been stressing over standardize testing and how it can determine if students graduate from high school. Schools are giving students multiple tests throughout the school year in which students are told that this “doesn’t count” and for us to try our best. Is this reasonable for a single test to determine if a student graduates? Students have completed countless years of testing and have also spent many hours trying to maintain a high academic grade with the stress of testing. For students, standardize testing can make them feel as if their grades and everything depends on one test. I am a strong believer that these tests should not determine our learning ability or shape our futures for us.
These standardize test have added pressure to many students to try to receive a high score in order to maintain the grade of their preference. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, “American teachers are feeling enormous pressure these days to raise their students’ scores on high-stakes tests. As a consequence, some teachers are providing classroom instruction that incorporates, as practice activities, the actual items on the high-stakes tests. Other teachers are giving practice exercises featuring “clone items”—items so similar to the test’s actual items that it’s tough to tell which is which. In either case, these teachers are teaching to the test” (Staff). Not only is this unreasonable, but it is simply unnecessary. The teachers are teaching to the test to help save not only their reputation, but also the schools. By basing the child’s education off of only one test, the students are now all missing out and a variety of information that is crucial to the class, and most importantly, teachers are forgetting or running out of time to teach the concepts that can be applied to real life. Not only do teachers feel the need to spend months to prepare their students, the students still feel obligated to spend hours studying to ensure they graduate. Due to this, it is ultimately up to the student to find their own way of relieving the anxiety from the test and to teach themselves the concepts that relate to life situations.
Standardized test are known to challenge students to see if their teacher is teaching them the right material in class. From a student’s perspective, these test build up pressure inside of them that can cause students to not do so good on the test, this is known as testing anxiety. “There are many people who simply do not perform well on tests” (Columbia University). For these students, it has provided them with the mindset that they are not good enough and will not be able to move further in their academic goals. A common opinion on the test siding with this is that “they are truly pointless. It doesn’t tell how smart a student is because some people don’t work well under pressure and stress” (Ferroni). Rather than having a student’s knowledge be based off a test, it should be based upon their grades and effort throughout the period of the class. By informing students that standardize test will not determine if they graduate or not, it will remove the anxiety factor and allow students to view it as a tool for help, instead of something that could potentially be a disaster. In doing so, students can start to gain thoughts and view standardize test as a way to encourage them to continue on their drive through school.
Students who take standardized test need to be reassured what the true meaning of these test are. For many students, it could potentially release stress and pressure which can result in better test scores overall. By removing the stress factor of testing, it can help them excel with their class grades which opens up many opportunities for them and even allows them start to engaging in what colleges have to offer for them when they have high academic grades. The standardized test can easily be compared to the ACT and SAT, in which a student’s whole college career depends on that test. A true meaning behind the standardized test would be to consistently prepare students, even when they are young, for other tests like these when they are older. As a result it may help prepare them and hopefully help them receive high scores, eventually opening up the window to a stronger variety of scholarship opportunities. For college, as the score goes up so does the amount of money awarded from schools, therefore it is necessary that students are strategically taught how to take tests throughout their schooling, but it should not affect their grades substantially. If students would be able to view testing from a different perspective, it could help them succeed even more in their other classes also. As a result, the schools would gain a stronger and better representation placing guarantee in the community that their children are receiving the best education, and the final result will not be based off of a single test in the end. In doing so, standardize testing can be viewed as a positive part rather than a negative factor that can put a strong effect on many students.
A strong argument towards the effectiveness depending on one test to determine one’s future is that it prepares students for the entrance into the adult world. The test supposedly prepares students for entering the work force and life beyond high school, but does it really? How does testing help one get into the work force? Some think it is the pressure and concept of it, others think it is simply the content. This can be rejected as there is not a job that asks anyone to take and pass a multiple choice test for acceptance into the job. Although some jobs do require a short essay in the application, most don’t ask for a detailed paper that earns a certain score to be employed. In the work force, the employer is simply searching for employees that know how to get the job done correctly and competently, not someone who is a good guesser on a multiple-choice test. Therefore, it can be known that this test is not only hurting many students’ futures due to grades, but it is hurting them for life outside of school.
There are multiple ways that we can overcome the issues of standardized testing. One way would be to limit the amount of standardized test. There multiple countries that limit its standardized testing and the scores are far above the United States. One way to prevent teachers from teaching to the test would be to set a curriculum set out just for the test a given time period. Students and teachers knowing there is only this time and curriculum would less stress and prevent “cramming in” of the information. Thirdly making these exams not part of the graduation requirements would lessen the pressure and stress on students.
Standardize testing shows to have pros and cons, and there will never be a clear answer to if it is good or bad, but there will always be an answer that sticks out slightly more. Standardize testing is not only unreasonable, but it is also unnecessary in the features that the education system is using it for as of now. A single test should not be able to define our learning ability and shape our future. Tests like these creates unnecessary anxiety in students of all ages that could easily be resolved by taking another route or not placing too much dependency on one test. Without the stress of a standardized test, students could focus more on their homework and teachers could teach what needs to be taught, not what is simply on the test. This would leave time to also teach real life skills. Students have the potential to be more prepared for the real world that is right around the corner, but without relieving the stress factor from the test and creating an understanding of its positives, it is going to continue hurting students and schools that most need it. Graduation should not depend on a test as there is no situation that depends on a multiple-choice test beyond high school. It is now time take a stand and help out fellow classmates and future students with preparation into the next stage of life.