The Round Table

Standardized Testing Needs To Go

Sam Diamond, Editorial Staff

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While people believe standardized tests play a crucial role in a student’s life, many think that one test should not predict a student’s future.  Standardized testing has been a major role in the college admissions process, statewide evaluations, and simply to see your progress as a student since the proverbial beginning of time. People are hesitant to change something that appears to be “working.”  

However, even though people are hesitant to change, it’s clear that standardized testing has not improved student achievement. After No Child Left Behind was passed in 2002, the U.S. dropped from 18th place in the world in math on the Programme for International Student Assessment to 31st place in 2009, with a similar drop in science and no change in reading.  Testing measures only a small portion of the knowledge from a high school student and what makes education meaningful. According to education researcher Dr. Gerald W. Bracey, qualities that standardized tests cannot measure include: “creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity.” All of these characteristics are ones that make a student who they are, not just a test that is thrown in front of them.

Aside from this, these tests are an unreliable measure of a student’s progress throughout their educational career. Some students are not great test takers, and basing their future off of one test is not fair to them. Testing is also not fair and discriminatory against non-English speakers and students with special needs. People whose first language is not English and who have not mastered the language are placed at a disadvantage because students who are proficient in English take the same exact test as the ones who are not as fluent.  Students also go through a tremendous amount of stress as they are going through the college process. From writing college essays to picking schools, this process is both emotionally and physically draining to anyone who has experienced it.

While people are hesitant to change, standardized tests are not fair to all students and put a majority at a disadvantage. Students should not be judged based on one test for the rest of their lives, and there should be more factors in establishing admittance.  Some schools are beginning to realize that there are not many benefits to testing and have established “test optional” policies in their admissions process.  Colleges believe that they can gain the most crucial information in the admission process through a student’s transcript, interview, and any extracurricular activities they participate in.

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Standardized Testing Needs To Go