Standardized Testing Misses the Mark

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The Prowler. 

Standardized tests are unfair. They favor privileged people who have access to better schools, tutors, and learning facilities which help them prepare specifically for this test.

Kids from ages 8-18 years old are taking these anxiety-provoking tests which do nothing but cause the students stress. 

People seem to think tests can motivate students and tests can make it easy to compare students and schools. Studying for a test someone doesn’t want to take is not motivation if this person is going to dread tests all their life.

There  are so many things to do in high school, but most students don’t get to do them all because they are constantly studying for tests like the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), coming up in a few months. Studying constantly throughout high school for these tests only leads to extra stress and resentment and can rob students of time for other valued experiences at high school like sports and socializing.  

For Juliet A., now a junior at de Toledo High School, the CAASPP exam (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) took a whole week to take. As a “public school kid, ” Juliet said taking the standardized test put her through unnecessary stress that did nothing but waste time, and that the questions on the test had “extreme, crazy prompts.” Hear Juliet tell her story (above right).

According to the California Department of Education website, “The primary purpose of the CAASPP System is to assist teachers, administrators, students, and parents by promoting high-quality teaching and learning through the use of a variety of assessment approaches.”

Do standardized  tests favor students that are good at tests and disadvantage others that might be great learners, just not good test-takers? What evidence is there that standardized test scores give an accurate representation of student knowledge and learning?

Standardized tests provide a “consistent metric” for colleges, says dTHS college counselor Ms. Hedgspeth  (Hear her interview below).

Eliana Harel

But colleges are beginning to recognize that standardized tests are not a good reflection of students’ abilities. The University of California Board of Regents in 2020, “unanimously approved the suspension of the standardized test requirement” for California freshmen until at least 2024. 

If this is the college’s way of saying that tests are unnecessary, then why should we continue to take these tests?

More holistic, broader, and diversified methods such as project-based learning, presentations, or anything that is less time-based, are better ways to truly identify a student’s intelligence and abilities, not just one narrow, standard testing method.