Letter to the Editor: "The Dangers of Standardization" by Laura Hinkle

April 5, 2017

     “The Dangers of Standardization” by Laura Hinkle is the article I’ve been looking for all my school life. Laura explains perfectly why it’s so important to undo the system of standardized testing. She writes, “Schools focus even more on low-level test-taking skills rather than actual mastery of the material, and as a result, students fall even farther behind intellectually.” This is undeniably true, at least in my experience. Schools claim to give us critical thinking skills, but more often than not we wind up memorizing the same old material.
     This pattern of standardization isn’t just boring and unstimulating, it’s actively harmful. For example, Laura writes: “According to psychologist Nicky Hayes, testing can result in ‘disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worry, irregular eating habits, increased infections, inability to concentrate, decreased memory capacity, and even fear.’” Observing myself and my classmates, this seems familiar. Many of us have accepted stress as part of our lives. But this doesn’t need to be the case. If we end standardized testing, we end an unnecessary and harmful part of the system. The only question is how long will it go before it ends.

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