Should Standardized Testing Be Abolished?

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Taylor Meister, Staff Writer

In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act required public schools to administer certain standardized tests. In the years since, it has become the norm for students to study for hours on end, sacrifice sleep and social activities, and drill information into their minds in preparation for standardized tests such as SATs, ACTs, and end of grade tests. Schools rely heavily on a student’s standardized testing scores to determine academic capability, regardless of the student’s previous performance in school.

Many colleges consider SAT scores as a main way of judging a student’s achievement and academic abilities. However, these scores do not always accurately reflect how smart students really are. There is so much pressure on students to do well on standardized tests- they are important for college resumes, they can be a large portion of the final grade for a class, and end of year tests are often a deciding factor in whether or not a student can move onto the next grade or graduate.

In today’s society, many students seem to be adopting a mindset of doing everything they can just to get the grade. Actual learning and comprehending the material, as well as mental health in some cases, all come second to getting a good grade. Standardized tests are a perfect example of how harmful this mindset can be. Students spend every waking minute cramming and studying for these tests, most of the time sacrificing sleep, free time, and social activities. These practices, as well as the extreme stress, can take a toll on the body and the mind. With all this pressure placed on students’ shoulders, it’s no surprise some people may not test as well due to extreme stress. This is known as test anxiety, and some studies have shown that students with high levels of test anxiety are likely to have slightly lower scores. Despite extreme anxiety associated with major tests, some students are known to do well on assignments, but they do not test well. This makes me wonder how effective standardized tests really are at judging a student’s academic abilities.

Despite students going to extreme lengths to prepare, it has been proven that standardized tests are not always effective. Furthermore, these tests can be expensive. For the 2020-21 school year, the price to take the SAT test is $52 for the basic test and $68 for the SAT with an essay. Many families also hire tutors to help their children study for the SATs, costing an average of $70 per hour. This could be an unfair advantage for students whose families are more financially stable because some families cannot afford to hire tutors. I believe that students should be rid of the extreme pressure and anxiety caused by tests that may not even accurately reflect their academic performance. Our society places too much weight on the importance of these certain tests. Students should be able to learn and flourish without having to worry about a few test scores possibly determining their entire future.

 

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