May 8th, 2018
Standardized Testing Is Standardized Stupid
Imagine an 8 year old boy sitting in his classroom taking the state-mandated standardized test. His palms begin to sweat as he looks at the next problem. His head begins to hurt, and he starts to feel dizzy. This little boy just wants to go home. He’s tired after spending three weeks in class preparing for this test. He begins to feel nauseous. There is no way he can finish this test. This is a problem across the country that has gone too far. Standardized tests have created a roadblock by stressing students out and intruding on class time. States should limit the number of standardized tests and use other methods for determining the intelligence of their youth.
One reason that standardized tests should not be used in schools is that they stress out students to the point of being sick, fatigued, and depressed. The Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advises on early education, stated that, “standardized tests literally make kids sick.” Many students reported feeling nauseous, having headaches, and feeling light headed. Parents of students reported that their children were having trouble falling asleep and being in tears over the test the next day. Does it seem necessary to make kids sick in March, April, and May, just to see which students have to go to summer school and to satisfy a government bureaucracy?
Another reason that standardized tests are not suitable for our schools is because a large chunk of class time is spent on preparing for the tests. Pre-AP classes that move ahead of the normal standards of the typical standardized test have to put the brakes on their higher level classwork to prepare for the test that the students, by being in the Pre-AP class, have proven that they can master anyway. According to a survey conducted by George Washington University, 81% of teachers believe that they spend too much class time preparing for standardized testing. Is it fair to students, who are falling behind the rest of the world, to waste their time on more standardized tests? Is it fair to teachers, whose salaries are already in the toilet, to cut short their lesson plans for the satisfaction of their respective state governments?
People who support standardized testing will say that these tests will evaluate a student’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to a certain subject, and that it helps a teacher roll over certain subjects that students have already mastered and spend more time on other areas that students had more trouble with on the tests. However, a student’s grades from that school year from different units should be adequate for helping a teacher in the next grade level cater to the class. For example, if a student in math made an A on almost every assignment relating to linear functions, but failed some assignments relating to quadratic functions, then a teacher in the next grade level should already have enough information to use to help the student review and succeed in quadratic functions.
In conclusion, states should stop using standardized tests in schools because of the intrusion on students and teachers. If we, the people of the United States, are trying to help our students catch up with the rest of the world, we can’t waste money and class time on expensive tests. We must also think of that 8 year old boy taking the standardized test mandated by his state. Free him from his chains, and free all the children across America like him.