Should we have standardized testing?


Mattie Kelly

Standardized tests answer sheets don’t take into account how a student narrowed down answer choices, how they worked through a question, or other factors showing a student’s strengths. 

Students of this day and age are certainly no strangers to standardized testing. For most of us, it’s something we’ve all become extremely accustomed to. Even though these tests have become the norm, its presence within schools has been a long standing debate. 

Some believe that standardized testing is a crucial tool for measuring students abilities. Others argue that it is an incredibly flawed system and that its negative effects harm students rather than help them succeed. 

As a student, I have mixed feelings on standardized tests. Both sides of the arguments have their pros and their cons. 

The main negative effect I see as a student is how they affect classes. These tests have created a culture of teaching to standardized testing standards. When teachers are evaluated based on students’ scores, it affects how they teach. Much more time is spent on lessons and assignments geared towards tests instead of lessons meant to be engaging and fun. This often makes classes less fun making it more difficult to be excited about taking them.  

Another negative aspect is how stressful standardized testing can be. As someone who struggles with testing anxiety, taking them can be extremely daunting. The anxiety surrounding tests makes them more difficult as that stress can interfere with how well you do. It’s frustrating to have what can sometimes be your worst testing scores define what kind of student you are viewed as. 

On the other hand, these tests are not without positives. The main benefit of testing is that it provides a measure for how well a student is doing. Having a way to see what you are good at while also seeing where you need to improve is a really valuable tool. 

Scores also show schools and teachers where curriculum needs to be improved and what subjects need to be taught. This is helpful as a student since it can greatly improve our lessons, assignments, and classroom activities. 

However, there are many factors that can affect your scores, limiting their effectiveness. Scores merely reflect if a student correctly or incorrectly answered a question. It doesn’t take into account how a student narrowed down answer choices, how they worked through a question, or other factors showing a student’s strengths. 

Because testing does not accurately measure the abilities of students, can cause overwhelming stress and anxiety, and can disturb classroom dynamics, I don’t think they should be in schools. 

Better alternatives could be put into place. Tests could be written by specific districts so they would better fit the needs of their students. Tests could also be optional to eliminate wasting time in classes and stress for students if specific classes or subjects 

I don’t think that standardized testing should be in schools. I think it’s extremely unfair that these tests do not reflect students’ abilities in their entirety. Its effects in the classroom should also be taken into account as a reason to get rid of them. If they do more harm than good, we shouldn’t put so much emphasis on them in our school systems