Do we really need Standardized Testing?

Cade Emmenderfer, Journalist

We have all experienced the grueling tests that are required by the state and the tests that determine where you go to college. One test can determine one’s life, one test can determine one’s job, and one test can determine the fate of a student’s academic career. This makes people ask the question, why? Why do we put so much on tests? Why is so much of our life determined by a score? Well, one reason is it’s a way to track the progress of students and teachers. It’s a way to separate students’ smart from not. But what about kids who work really hard for their grades who struggle with test-taking, or kids that have extreme test anxiety? Is it fair to test them? 

Julie Stausing, an English Teacher at CHS, feels there needs to be alternatives for kids who struggle with tests. Stausing believes one way is to eliminate time limits on tests, “So many kids suffer from test anxiety. The moment one puts a time on it I don’t think they do well at all”. When asked about End of Course Exams (EOCs) Stausing gave a look of disappointment “I just feel like there is a better way to access a kid’s knowledge than a one-and-done test every couple of years”. She believes another flaw of the EOCs is that the passages in the English tests are not the best for students to engage and analyze the text. When asked whether or not EOCs accurately display whats a student learned Stausing responded with “No, I don’t think any test that is given to a kid one time can accurately show exactly what they mastered”. With ACTs and SATs, Stausing feels the biggest problem is they are timed. “They are basing a kids future on how fast they can take a test”. 

Students also have concerns over standardized tests. One Cape Central Senior Rachel Keele believes that standardized testing doesn’t give a good indication of practical knowledge. She also believes they cause a lot of stress, “The test cause a lot of undue stress because people think their life hinges on ACTs, SATs, and etc”. Another Cape Central Senior Ella Hahs is in support of standardized testing stating “I feel there has to be a general basis on which kids’ test-taking skills can be evaluated”. She acknowledged GPA could work as a way to evaluate students, but stressed the possibility some kids may have cheated their way to a high GPA. Hahs believes instead of getting rid of these tests, the schools should provide better resources to the students especially to those who struggle with test anxiety.

However, yes these tests could help with skills evaluations on students, but according to a study done by MIT high test scores have a low correlation with memory, attention, and processing speed. Three qualities in many people’s opinions that make a good student. Perhaps the United States should reevaluate its views on Standardized testing.