As a kid, I’d always hated taking tests. I was a good student but often my test scores didn’t reflect this fact.
I remember hating filling out the Scantron forms for the ACT and the bubbles on the MEAP tests; if you didn’t have a number 2 pencil, you were screwed.
Luckily, as I got into college, my degree sent me away from filling in bubbles and taking those tests. However, many students still have to rely on this method and I wonder why.
So, let’s look at the facts, shall we?
In “Standardized Tests Effectively Measure Student Achievement” on the Opposing Viewpoints database, the site gives a few points discussing the benefits of standardized testing. The document lists facts such as it being beneficial to documenting student performance, targeting areas of development and encouraging global competitiveness.
While the study does promote benefits in favor of standardized testing, having test anxiety is a perfect example of how this data can be skewed. It isn’t bad to learn where development is needed and what someone’s performance is but we have to stop crushing students while we’re at it.
A test score shouldn’t define a student, especially when life itself has shown that these tests only pressure public systems to have “achieving” students so they can receive federal funding. This issue came to a head in 2009 when an Atlanta school system was caught changing test scores. This form of competition isn’t beneficial to the students, as it takes away from the true focus—learning and student success.
Oxfordlearning.org also stated that standardized testing narrows the option of learning and success, focusing on specific skills and areas such as math, English and science instead of promoting creativity and critical thinking.
Instead of having a science test, promote students to do projects and get involved. Highlight a student’s skills instead of stripping them of confidence.
Thinking back, I find myself feeling cheated from my own education back in high school and middle school. I admittedly came into college feeling like I didn’t know some of the education required of me—I felt unprepared and unqualified.
How could I possibly measure up to students who had more opportunities based on test scores and school district statistics?
As I write this, I realize maybe standardized testing has something going for it—it’s just nobody has figured out quite how to use it. But if that’s the case, why not try something new, something better?
Click here for more from the Torch’s Opinions section.