Standardized testing has been around for several decades, but even now, it’s not perfect. In fact, there’s a lot of people who debate on whether or not it’s really needed and if it’s truly useful. So, the big question is: is it?
One of the reasons it still exists today is because it does have a purpose. For one thing, it gives teachers and staff a point to focus on. The state decides what they see as important and what the standard is, and then the teachers know what they need to teach. Mr. Owen Sanford, Dean of Students, said, “I think that it can help ensure that school districts, buildings, and teachers are making intentional efforts to make sure that we’re teaching things consistently.” It helps to keep a balance between the schools and maintain order, and does a good job of it; however, it does have drawbacks.
One of which is the stress it can put on students. With a big test on the line, anxiety goes up and they struggle with the thought of not passing and in turn, not graduating. Those who didn’t pass in middle school learn that it’s required for high school and can get quite frustrated with the fact that there’s another requirement on their plate. Since the schools try and cut down on pressure to help their students’ mental health, the testing can become a concern. Not only this, but the cost of time and money can be quite spendy given people need to be hired to grade the tests and if teachers are called to grade some, they’ll be taken away from their classrooms and unable to teach their students.
While flawed, there has yet to be a confirmed better alternative. Most of the time, there results on the test matches the grades the students get. There are exceptions where those with excellent grades get poor test scores, but overall, the system does work.
However, a staff’s point of view is often different from the students themselves. One student, Ashlynn Burgener, junior, said, “I think it’s not a good way to reach the standard of how students are learning. I feel like it only gears towards one type of learning style. Personally, for me, standardized testing is not how I learn.” While another, Julia Chwaliszewski, said, “I don’t really get stressed out by it but I know people who do. I think it’s kinda competitive but I don’t think there’s any other way to test people.”
There have been plans to fix it as well, with talk of disconnecting standardized testing from graduation requirements, but it hasn’t been decided yet. All and all, it’s difficult to deny that there are both pros and cons to having standardized testing. Whether or not it should be replaced or not is up to the state, so for now, it’s here to stay.