Standardized Testing: Is it Worth it? | Teen Ink

Standardized Testing: Is it Worth it?

November 16, 2015
By mlococo BRONZE, Woburn, Massachusetts
mlococo BRONZE, Woburn, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It all starts by sitting in a school desk with your number two pencils and an answer sheet.  You nervously wait for the teacher to pass out the test and a billion things are running through your head.  Once the test hits your desk, you start to get stressed and feel like everything you learned just got erased from your brain.  Just the thought of having to take this test for four hours is running through your mind and you seem to not be able to focus on the test. 

In order to take the standardized test, many different preparations are involved and required by the school.  There are many questions that come with standardized testing and if it is a waste of time.  Teachers are just “teaching to the test” and are not able to fully teach a lesson without feeling rushed.  After taking a test, it does not measure the student’s knowledge and ability.  It only starts to create stress for the students since they know that the end result of the score matters in their education.  To provide the MCAS, the PARCC, the SAT, the ACT, etc it involves spending a lot of money.  This issue is so serious that it has to involve President Obama.  Overall, standardized testing is not benefiting the teachers or even the students.

The main problem with having a standardized test is that teachers are not teaching to their full ability, since they just need to teach the information that will show up on the test.  The website article, Teaching to the Test? states, “American teachers are feeling enormous pressure these days to raise their students' scores on high-stakes tests. As a consequence, some teachers are providing classroom instruction that incorporates, as practice activities, the actual items on the high-stakes tests”.  That quote talks about how instead of getting creative with their instructions and assignments, they just use what is given on the test and work around that.  It is sad how teachers are not being able to teach like before since these tests get in the way.  There is the counterargument that states how teachers do have the ability to teach how they want since it is their classroom and they get to do whatever they want.  That in particular is not true since the school system has them on a leash.

If a student takes the MCAS or a type of standardized test, they get ranked in the school system but those tests do not actually measure the student’s ability.  The Fairtest article mentions, “Measurement experts agree that no test is good enough to serve as the sole or primary bases for any of these important educational decisions”.  If experts are saying that tests do not measure their ability, it must be true since a lot of research and experiments have been put into seeing how the results affect the student as they pursue their educational career.  Also, there are not many students who are good when it comes to test taking, I am personally someone who can not take tests because I get too nervous and get the feeling that I do not know anything.  Some people may say that standardized tests do measure the student because it is a test to see how much a student can comprehend the lessons throughout the year.   

Students who are taking these tests are dealing with stress and that is not something good to experience at such a young age.  Since students know that the test scores matter, they may even cheat so it can higher their grade; even though the teacher says that every test is in a different order, they still manage to get the answers they need.  Instead of trying to figure it out on their own, they ask their friend, when they go on the allotted break, what they got for one of the answers.  Students get nervous and some even get anxiety just from the thought of having to take the test since they know if they do poorly, it may affect how their education is.  After conducting an interview with a middle school teacher, she said, “I had a student who would need to take medication before having to take the test since he was too stressed and was not focused”.  This test is mentally affecting students and it is not good for their health.  There is the other side that talks about how students should not be stressed since they already know all the information.

It is not worth taking a test that is costing the state a lot of money since it is not benefiting many people.  According to Education Week, “…it costs the state $1.7 billion a year”.  That is a ridiculous amount since these tests are useless.  Less money may be an option when it comes to providing these tests.

This issue is a big problem now that it even involves President Obama.  Barrack Obama is in favor of limiting the amount of tests since it is now too much.  The social media, Facebook, recently posted a video of President Obama speaking. The money that is being spent on these tests should be spent on supplies, training, and other materials that a school may need in order to advance within the classroom.

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