That’s what she said: Standardized Testing; helping or hurting education?

Grayson McClendon, Staff Reporter

Think about this: have you ever stressed over a test? I can almost guarantee that everyone reading this shook their head yes. All year, students prepare themselves for the EOCs and NCFEs. There are sleepless nights from studying, empty wallets from tutoring, and friendless weekends from homework. Many times these tests affect our grades negatively, but they always cause an unwanted amount of stress. These are just two of many ways that standardized testing is hurting our education.

The amount of stress put onto students from tests is absurd. We as students tend to believe that our grades define us, which is why we put so much pressure on ourselves to succeed. The finals and end of year tests are always in the back of our minds, when they should not be. Not only do tests cause stress, but the pressure caused by parents also is a huge factor. Even though not all parents are strict about grades, in a sampling survey, 94% of Millbrook students said that their parent expect them to have good grades. It is nice for your parents to hold you accountable for how well you are doing in school, but being stressed out from trying to impress them is a step too far.

Another reason why standardized tests are harming our education is because of the disadvantage students have who do not perform well on tests. 35% of public school students have a learning disability, and although some are offered aid, many are not. There are also students who do not perform well on tests who do not have a learning disability. Tests do not really tell you how well you are doing in the classroom, as you may be going through the year with good grades all all the activities and quizzes. Succeeding in the classroom and not on the exams can be caused by anxiety, stress, slow comprehension, or nervousness. One might say this can be solved by studying harder, but doing poorly on tests is not always because of the difficult content, but the atmosphere as well. Walking into an exam can be very frightening as the next three to five hours of your life could make or break you.

The last reason that standardized tests like EOCs and NCFEs are doing more harm than good is because they do not cover all aspects that are taught in the classroom. There is a saying called “teaching to the test,” and this is when the teacher only teaches the material that is going to be on the test, just to be forgotten the day afterwards. Junior Grace Cox said, “Students don’t fully learn the information that’s being taught to them. They only memorize what they need for the test and forget it after the test is over.” Other important skills that are taught in school is creativity, collaboration, and communication skills. Instead of being tested on these materials, we are tested on the order of the elements in the periodic table or the difference between a linear and a quadratic equation.

Some might say that standardized tests help your grades, which can be true if you do extremely well on them, but overall the elimination of testing in school would be beneficial in the end. We would not spend time comparing ourselves and our test scores to other students and we would spend more time worrying about our own education. The heart crushing feeling of your parents saying how disappointed they are would no longer happen! Now that is a world I would want to live in, a world of no standardized testing and no stress from school!