By Piper Stephens
The Charter Opinions
Standardized tests are an organized, relatively simple way of assessing how much a student knows, but are they really what they’re made out to be?
From too much pressure, to not really helping students other than providing a score, standardized tests are often valued way too much for what they are actually worth.
Standardized testing is a form of generalized test which is meant to measure a student’s proficiency in a certain area. These tests, such as the Smarter Balance, ITBS, SAT, and ACT tests often consist of answering questions on a computer or filling in bubbles for certain answers. ITBS is a k-12 standardized test, while the SAT and ACT are tests given to high schoolers.
Standardized tests are viewed as a way of perfectly displaying knowledge and skills, and they are seen as way more important than they should be. Because of this, test results can affect a student’s whole life. So much pressure is put on students to perform well on these tests, that the stress may cause their test scores to be inaccurate. And while some thrive under stress, others can’t handle it the same way. Even if a student gets perfect grades, test anxiety may cause them to fail a standardized test. Many people are instead choosing to opt out rather than deal with it.
One reason why standardized tests don’t actually help students is that it doesn’t give any feedback. Without this feedback, there isn’t a good way to know what you did wrong on the test, or how to improve in those areas.
Another is that students are often taught only what would be on the test. According to the American Institute for Learning and Human Development “Because so much emphasis is placed on standardized test results these days, teachers are spending more and more time ‘teaching to the test.’” This means that class time is consumed by test preparation. Some teachers believe that this is the way to go, whereas others think that it is detrimental to students.
Overall, standardized testing may be uniform, but it isn’t always accurate, and it can often hurt students more than it helps them. I think that it would be better to judge students on their cumulative work in a subject, like a Grade Point Average (GPA), so that you get more than the results from one isolated, stressful situation.
Schulten, Katherine. “How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2016
Armstrong, Thomas. “15 Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Worthless.” 15 Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Worthless. N.p., 28 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2016
Schweig, Jonathan. “The Opt-Out Reckoning.” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, 9 May 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016
“Standardized Tests – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.