The Standards Need To Be Changed: Eliminate standardized testing


Maddie Whisenant, Opinion Writer

Imagine you’re in a classroom, sitting at a desk with a test booklet and pencil in hand. The only sounds are the muffled steps of the testing proctor walking through the aisles and the scratching of pencils. You get to a question you don’t know and your heart starts beating rapidly, your head pounding in frustration. This is what it’s like to take a standardized test. They’re long, stressful and unnecessary. Students often complain about these tests, as they are not considered “helpful” and cause more problems than they solve.
For many students, standardized tests are just another thing to worry about in addition to homework and if students are taking higher level courses. Most of the time, you’re just sitting for hours, reading passages and answering questions about the main idea, when in reality, the text can be interpreted in ways far beyond the choices provided.
The struggles surrounding standardized testing are even more profound in the midst of a pandemic. End- of-course tests were hard last year after spending both semesters online, since not all content could be covered due to the decrease in class time. Scores dropped by 13 percentage points last year according to Education NC. Being given tests such as the Pre-ACT was hard enough after coming back in person. We were all adjusting and getting used to the experience again just as more tests were thrown at us. Because of the pandemic, among other things, universities have also begun to eliminate testing scores and many have gone optional with the requirements.
Even without the pandemic, there are multiple colleges out there that haven’t considered test scores in years. Schools such as Wake Forest University, Pitzer College, New York University, Cornell College and Ithaca College mainly take GPAs and other important qualifications into consideration instead of test scores.
In most schools, testing takes up class time. Students spend whole days and weeks preparing for these tests, when they could be learning more valuable information in class. Eighty- one percent of teachers agree that tests take up too much time, and students spend 20-25 hours on testing annually according to the Education Writers Association and the University of South Carolina
I understand colleges use standardized tests to determine the possibility of a student graduating, which is useful as some freshmen fail the first semester. Contrary to what some might think, however, these tests are no reflection of intelligence. Standardized tests just increase stress levels and decrease the time a student could spend learning in a classroom. And with a pandemic, testing is just another waste of resources to reveal what we already know. Perhaps to reduce the pressure testing causes, testing could be limited to only certain grades. For example, eliminate elementary school testing, or at least reduce it and limit testing to eighth and twelfth grades. Testing can be replaced with skill surveys, inspections and game-based evaluations according to the University of the People. In the end, no one needs a four hour long test to prove their intelligence.