Standardized Testing, Answer This

Jamie Ingling, Contributing Writer

In a survey presented by ChildLine entitled “The ChildLine National Exam Stress Survey”, 96% of the 1300 students who participated in the survey felt stress and anxiety towards taking standardized tests. Due to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, schools are required to give standardized tests to the students annually on mathematics and language arts. However, standardized tests are an inefficient way to test the knowledge the students learn over the course of the school year. It forces the quality of teaching to decrease monumentally, for teachers are forced to teach students what will be on the standardized tests at a pace that may be displeasing to both the teacher and student. Ultimately, standardized testing should not be the assessment used to test students’ understanding of school topics.

The idea of giving the same test to students nationwide seems beneficial to evaluate a teacher’s teachings as well as the student’s knowledge; however it has its downfalls. Studies have been done by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Brown University in which they tested 1,400 students in the Boston public school system. After analyzing the schools and standardized test scores, the researchers came to the conclusion that although Boston schools were able to raise their students’ test scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System state test, there was no improvement in the students’ “fluid intelligence” or the ability to reason quickly and abstractly. Standardized testing is pushing students to artificially think. They push for students to think in the same way, but in doing this, it destroys students’ creativity. If they were beneficial to students, researchers would see an increase in students’ “fluid intelligence” and not just their test scores.

Although standardized testing may be seen as a way to allow students to see their levels of intelligence and give them a reason to push themselves academically, it is not. Standardized testing causes more harm than good. It creates stress and anxiety within students, as the scores of the tests determine their future. Not all students function well during tests, as they become nervous. Standardized testing does not acknowledge outside factors during the time the test is taken, such as physical, mental, home, and school factors. These conditions should be taken into consideration when the test is graded, but they aren’t; machines are used to grade the tests instead of the people who actually created the test.

It is clear that standardized testing isn’t how students should be analyzed. They are not beneficial to the student or teacher, who are the most important parties involved in the system of standardized testing. The foundation of education is for students to learn about the world around them, not to test whether or not they are able to answer a set of multiple choice questions in an allotted time. Standardized tests are unreliable, and frankly, they should have never been given in the first place.