Are Standardized Tests Necessary?

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Image created by A. Guo

M. Grabowski and A. Guo

Panicked side chatters and stress rants seem to have taken over the conversations of students at Green Level High School ever since the PSAT and the PreACT. These are two standardized tests that many students have already taken in the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year. But are all these tests even fair in the first place?

Students like Nanjiba Kamrul, a sophomore at Green Level High School, don’t seem to think so, “I feel like the standardized testing method used isn’t really fair because these tests cannot determine the maximum potential of a student since not all students have the same learning ability.” 

One of the main reasons why standardized testing is used so often is that it is considered an objective way to measure a student’s achievement. Adam Kashmola, Green Level Sophomore, says, “it’s a good way to measure the school’s students’ overall ‘level’.” The tests are graded by machines so they are not subject to human bias. In addition, the scoring scale is the same for everyone, whether that’s in a class or across the nation.

The problem is, 73% of Sophomores on an online Instagram poll felt that one of the most recent standardized test, the PACT, was neither a fair nor accurate representation of their intellect. Sophomore Arya Kalluru shared, “The PACT might help for the ACT but the ACT does not show colleges the extent of our knowledge.” Just like Kamrul says, “standardized testing can’t appeal to everyone.” Although standardized testing is able to refrain from human bias, it fails to measure other skills like creativity, collaboration, leadership, etc.

Another 10th grader, Arabelle Kwiatek, says, “I don’t think that the PACT fairly measured out intelligence because most of the questions were from science, math, and writing. Since GL has four periods split every semester we are able to focus on those four classes only. I have science next semester so I would be at a disadvantage to people who had science this semester and could prepare a little.” These quotes may just start to show you how standardized testing may start to show unfairness.

Standardized testing does not only pertain to college entrance exams like the ACT. Final exams like the EOC, NCFE, and AP exams are also tests that high school students take every year. On another online poll, 77% of 80 students ranging from 9th-11th grade, do not believe standardized testing is fair. 

Kamrul points out, “Many students are faced with lots of stress and anxiety leading up to these tests which can affect how well they do on the test.” Even Kashmola, who believed standardized testing was fair said, “I started to panic for the rest of the sections when I barely finished in time.” 

In fact, many students at Green Level, some who have ranked in the top 1% of the country, said it was hard for them to sleep either night leading up to the test or the night before the scores were released. The pressure of getting into college, impressing parents, and the many consequences of standardized testing put unhealthy stress on these high school students.

Sure, standardized tests are able to give a straight-forward and objective ranking of students, but should they be as common and as stressed as they are now if so many students are experiencing and reporting unfairness and health problems? Everyone isn’t smart in the computer generated way of filling in bubbles, so shouldn’t we help our students out by removing standardized tests? Our student body strongly agrees, standardized tests aren’t fair!