The Problems with Standardized Testing

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The thought of sitting in a classroom taking a test for hours makes many students upset, frustrated, or seriously question the reasoning behind why we take standardized tests in the first place.

Because each high school is unique and teaches differently, schools need a shared way to test students’ knowledge to assess them on how well they have learned and how much they know in comparison to other students of other schools.  Standardized tests, such as the SAT or the ACT, are laid out to compare students in the state, country, or even the world. However, this method of comparison has its flaws, especially according to the students taking these tests.

“I think it can prove that you can think fast on the spot and work fast, but it is also a very stressful thing and I don’t really see why we need it,” said senior Sabrina Shao who has taken both the SAT and the ACT.  Sabrina took the ACT twice, and the SAT three times.

Ms. Emily McDowell, Associate Director of College Counseling, said that the system is in place for a good reason, but, for a multitude of reasons, it isn’t the most effective.

According to the College Board, standardized testing scores are not the biggest determining factor in whether or not a student gets admitted into a certain college.

The College Board website says, “When they use scores in admission decisions, different colleges weight the scores differently. But no matter which college you’re applying to, test scores are not the most important factor. Colleges give the most weight to your grades and the rigor of your classes.”

Ms. McDowell also emphasized the point that standardized testing isn’t the most crucial part of an application, and does not have as much of an impact on whether or not a student gets accepted as many students believe it does.  She also explained that standardized tests are in place more to help you rather than to hurt you.

“It’s a piece of a picture,” Ms. McDowell said.  “It’s not going to make or break your application.”

Standardized tests cause students immense stress, anxiety, and add so much additional pressure to what we are already facing.  If emphasis is being put on the concept that high standardized test scores aren’t that crucial to getting into schools, why don’t we simply get rid of the standardized testing since it isn’t working in the way it was meant to?

Many colleges, such as Bates, Bowdoin and Bryn Mawr, are starting to realize the problem with the concept of standardized testing and have become test-optional schools. This lets students know that their intelligence will not be judged based on their academic performance from one specific day; that the school cares more about how they perform throughout high school in all of their classes.

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