Courtesy of baltimoredesignschool.com
Picture this: you’re a high school student.
You go to check the website of your school to see what the calendar for the week of the month is. You notice that one day is only a half day and at first you are thrilled, until you realize why it’s only a half day: you have to take a standardized test first thing in the morning.
This is a feeling that basically any student can relate to. Here at Wheat Ridge High School, just a few weeks ago, the sophomores were required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and the juniors were required to take the PSAT. Standardized tests are basically an annual thing for students. I remember taking the CSAP test back when I was still in elementary school. These types of tests have caused me incredible amounts of stress that have only been slightly relieved now, mostly because I’ve learned to rationalize the importance of these tests.
I firmly believe that the majority of the tests are pointless to my education, with the exceptions being things like the SAT and the PSAT 11 because these can help with college entrance. I think this because they have hardly any effect on our current grades and the majority of the content is either stuff that we don’t know (these tests are designed to challenge what you can gather from the context of the test and what you’ve learned so far in your education).
All these exams do is cause already stressed students to pile on even more stress onto their lives. Also, teachers frequently base their teaching material on the stuff that is present in tests. This causes some of the enrichment that is ever-present in learning to be lost. Learning is enriching because the teachers teach what they think you need and therefore they are passionate about what they are teaching. Standardized tests bring this focus and attention to having your students do well on an exam, not be successful in life or feel the magic in learning.
Some can see the perks that are present in standardized testing. One such person is Meaghan McDowell, English teacher here at Wheat Ridge. McDowell has previously proctored many tests, from the AP exam to the CCAP. She stated that she believes that it’s important to measure learning, but, on the flip side, she also thinks that there are aspects that could be better. McDowell doesn’t have any solutions as of now, but she hopes for solutions in the future.
Many other teachers, however, believe that standardized testing is detrimental to student life. One such teacher is Burke Edgar, drawing and painting teacher here at Wheat Ridge. Edgar, when asked about the subject, stated that he thinks that testing moves away from the point of education but that there needs to be a way to measure school success. He also thinks that the concept that “all students have the same base understanding, whether or not it’s relevant, takes away learning incentive.” As for solutions, Edgar thinks that testing shouldn’t be tied to funding and that tests should be relevant to a student’s learning so that they have a reason to take said test.
Overall, standardized testing removes what is good about learning and just causes students to be even more stressed than they already are. Students are just put under immense stress for something that won’t ultimately affect our lives, and we must work towards solving this problem.