Standardized Testing: Is it Hurting or Helping Our Students?

Academics

According to a study by Council of Great City Schools, American students spend (on average) 20-25 hours a year studying for standardized tests. All the grueling 20 hours of preparing and a couple of hours of testing then comes to the couple of minutes contemplating your results. Of course, nobody wants a low score, but others really wonder if those good scores are really worth all the hours studying and preparing. 

Standardized testing creates testing tools that permits someone to make a valid inference on the skills and/or knowledge that the tester possesses in a specific area. Being selected into highly competitive schools also means having good standardized testing scores. However, easier said than done, standardized testing is not something to be confident about. Although it is to measure the strength a student has in a certain area, no student ever wants to get results that deem them below average. Therefore, they study. Hard.

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Some may argue that discipline is built from all the rigorous hours of prep, but others may argue that the entire experience itself may not be worth it at all. Here are a few reasons why many think the system is damaging:

  • There is an unfair advantage towards those who can afford test prep

  • That the method of testing can create such an immense amount of pressure to the point of the student resorting to cheating

  • The system gives little to no feedback or advice to the tester or the teacher

  • Especially with all the different factors, why must time be a factor?

  • Most standardized tests only test the common-core (required knowledge). Why must that be so?

  • It takes away creativity and artistic intelligence

  • The infamous test fatigue: a student in Korea committed suicide because of her CSAT score

Then there's the generic speech that many people give, "Standardized testing systems don't care about the ethical and social backgrounds of all the testers, and everybody's different, so yeah.........". This is indeed true, for most of the tests test only the common core knowledge and maybe a few other skillsets. But part of the reason why they don't look into backgrounds of testers is simply that there are too many to look into! That also defeats the purpose of the test itself, which was to simply identify the tester's strengths and weaknesses on an assessment. 

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And then there's the creative aspect that many parents worry about. Parenting techniques differ from family to family, and many parents argue that the standardized testing system takes away or just completely destroys the creative and artistic aspect of their children's minds. Because of the hours of test prep, their children may not get to hang out with friends, draw as much as they used to, etc. Of course, many others may disagree with this, but the entire experience is one that is so abstract I could talk about it for days.

In the way I view it, it's not the score that defines how good or bad you did, it's the experience that matters the most. If a naturally intelligent person gets a perfect score on the SAT without a bit of studying, so what? The only thing that I get from that is that this person is naturally smart. But, if somebody puts rigorous hours into studying, and they take every opportunity to improve themselves, yet their score isn't as good as the naturally smart ones, I'd still say it was a good experience. That demonstrates that that person has a good work ethic and that the person is hard-working.   

Schools and school systems also advertise with pride that their students have the highest standardized testing scores in the nation. For others, what they're really advertising is how well they take away their student's creativity, entertainment, and their willingness to limit their students' thought processes to the minimum. 

But how do you really feel about that?

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Alice Li

Editor

Anime, Kpop, animal, and Kim Taehyung enthusiast, and I like almost everything except for cheese and guided tours. I also enjoy reading manga and playing volleyball in my free time:). Thank you for stopping by! :D