Hurting Us or Helping Us?

May 16, 2012
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It’s the first day of school, and the teacher is already talking about the standardized TCAP test. We don’t have to take that test until March and it’s August; we have seven months! She’s already stressing about how important it is and how the standards have changed, she will only what is on TCAP because all the teachers are so stressed about it, which stresses us out.

As a student, this is the stress we undergo when school starts again, and also why we may not be as prepared for college. Should schools give standardized tests to the students? No, but they could give a test that rewards us more, while also helping to evaluate our teachers.

According to Abby Cotler O, Roarty, “A majority of more than 1,000 college and university presidents surveyed that the public high school students are arriving at college less prepared that students were a decade ago.” Instead of teachers teaching us what we will need later in life, they are just teaching us what is on the standardized test so they can keep their jobs. The tests are mostly a teacher evaluation. This doesn’t help us when we get to college. If we just learn what is on the tests, we might not be able to pass the SAT/ACT.

On the other hand, the tests do help our schools to receive state and federal funding. Also, according to Andrew Gelman, “Standardized tests are good because they show what you have learned and accumulated over the school year.” It does show what we have accumulated and is very useful to measure our growth, but if all we study is what’s on the test, you would hope to have a good score. It doesn’t cover everything, and it especially doesn’t go over what you will need for the SAT/ACT.

As a student, taking the ACT was very different than the TCAP. The writing was much longer, and the math was much harder. Taking the standardized test, according to the article, Parents “…can have a significant impact on school assessment and funding, determine your child's class placement, or even prevent grade promotion.” How can they tell, if all we work on all year is what will help us have a good score on the test? The ACT is much more important because it affects me and the college education I will receive.

In the article, This Standardized Testing Article Will Break Your Heart by Liz Dwyer, Angela, a fifth grade student, was struggling with English and reading. She received extra help during the day and after school, but was still struggling. She really needed to pass their TAKS test in order to move on to sixth grade. This test was mainly what they used to decide if she would move on, and she started in the morning and didn’t finish until six thirty that night. There is a better way to decide whether or not a student should be allowed to move on to the next grade. They could base it on their overall grade for that year, because it is stressful to just have to worry about one test.

Then, there is the view that the testing is good. According to the article Standardized Testing in Schools is a Good Thing, by Michael Zwaagstra, “These tests form an essential component of public education because they provide teachers, parents, and the general public with important information about the student’s academic performance.” This is true and does show very important information. But, as Angela discovered, it can be very stressful and harsh, which is why they shouldn’t use it to decide what class a student should be in or not be in.

Finally, according to the article Only 7 Percent of Teachers Believe in Standardized Tests by Liz Dwyer,”A huge majority of teachers believe in measuring student achievement, but they believe it should be measured with a variety of assessments, not just standardized tests.” It says that 62 percent believe that quizzes, tests, and class work give good feedback to the teachers and are essential to a student’s achievement. This shows that we can give tests, but maybe not as standardized and worried about.

This shows that yes, standardized tests do give good results and information about a student’s academic growth and achievement, but also can be harmful if they are too stressed about the tests. If we could find a happy medium between a test that evaluates our students and our teachers, it could have better results and feedback from everyone. If you had to take a test that stressed you out so much you didn’t want to go to school, would you do your best on it or just be frustrated with it? If my teacher didn’t have to mention the standardized testing at the beginning of the year and make us worry, I might not be so stressed out about school.




Works Cited
Cotler/O'Roarty, Abby. "Error Page." Scholastic | Children's Books and Book Club | Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/standardized-tests/parents>.
Dwyer, Liz. "This Standardized Testing Story Will Break Your Heart." Good Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <www.good.is/post/this-standardized-testing-story-will-break-your-heart/>.
Dwyer, Liz. "Only 7 Percent of Teachers Believe in Standardized Tests - Education - GOOD." GOOD Home Page - GOOD. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://www.good.is/post/only-7-percent-of-teachers-believe-in-standardized-tests>.
Gelman, Andrew. "Standardized Tests Are Useful, Say Researchers." Statistical Modeling, Casual Inference, and Social Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <andrewgelman.com/2008/06/standardized-te/>.
Zwaagstra, Michael. "Troy Media | Telling the story behind the story." Troy Media | Telling the story behind the story. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://troymedia.com/blog/2011/10/21/standardized-testing-in-schools-is-a-good-thing>.


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