Reedy High School Media

Standardized Tests: A Blast from the Past?

Revealing the truth about these exams

Katharine Walker, Sr. Reporter

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Every year, students across the U.S. take state-wide exams, measuring their abilities to retain information that they learned throughout the year. Parents, students, and teachers alike have brought these standardized tests to attention, questioning if they are truly necessary in furthering a student’s education.

These exams are not beneficial to a student’s school career; therefore, they should be relinquished.

Firstly, standardized tests place unnecessary stress on students of all ages. Every year, students are taught the importance of doing well on these exams by all core subject teachers. Many students, similar in their goals to do well in school, spend hours memorizing formulas, dates, and other useless information not valuable in adult jobs and career paths. Since computers are becoming more and more prevalent in homes and workplaces, adults can simply look up this information instead of spending ten minutes to solve an equation. Additionally, teachers are pressuring students to do well on these tests because their results reflect on the staff’s teaching abilities. Tests like the STAAR limit a teacher’s capacity to expand on subjects that encourage a student’s critical thinking skills, thus the curriculum is confined to what is going to be on a test. Instead of focusing on thoughtlessly boring terms, dates, formulas, and definitions, there should be a shift in teaching what education was meant to enhance: a student’s ability to analyze the world around them.

Secondly, these exams are a disadvantage to kids of different learning strengths and weaknesses. The writers of standardized test most often don’t consider the simple fact that every student is different in the ways they learn. In a world of seven billion people, it should be considered that everyone is unique and not the same, so why not at least make the tests compatible with students of various learning strengths? For example, a student should have the option of hearing the questions on a device instead of reading it. This would make it fair to every student since no two individuals are alike.

Lastly, standardized tests are a way of the past, meaning that schools are no longer gearing students towards working in factories. A strict curriculum and a static way of teaching reflects the old ways of preparing students for the real world. No longer is the real world all about mindlessly following instructions and routine in an industrial workspace. Nowadays, careers focus on the development of leadership skills and accountability, so why don’t schools gear students toward traits they are going to use in the real world to create less of a shock factor? Especially in well-developed towns like Frisco, students do not want to settle for what will get them the bare minimum in life. They strive for a happy future with a good, enjoyable job and family. If schools are supposed to prepare students for the real and present world, why include elements, like standardized tests, that prepare them for a world of the past?

While others might argue that standardized tests are a beneficial way of capping up the year with an analysis on how well students understand the curriculum, it is not beneficial when students are senselessly studying information for one test. In addition, there is no reason for students to study curriculum that doesn’t prepare them for the real world, and teachers shouldn’t have to teach that material. Revoking standardized tests would provide teachers with more freedom to teach what will only help and prepare students for what’s to come in the future instead of teaching material that is counterproductive. A solution to this educational nightmare would be to at least offer different methods of taking the test so every student has a fair chance, if not revoke it entirely. Most everyone can agree that people are unique in their ways of thinking, so different methods for taking tests would be compatible to different students.  Until then, standardized tests shouldn’t be acceptable to have in place since preparing students for the workforce in factories is a blast from the past.

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Standardized Tests: A Blast from the Past?