Standardized testing improves achievement, motivation

Elana Tinelli
staff writer

Standardized testing: Ranging from SAT to ACT to AP exams, there’s no denying it’s a vital part of every student’s high school experience that causes frustration and anger. “These tests do stress me because I know I will feel bad if I don’t get a high score,” sophomore Olivia Vincent said.

Despite the amount of stress standardized testing may cause, it has benefits. One benefit is tests can increase student achievement and serve as motivation. Students know their scores will be viewed nation wide, so they may put more effort into studying. This will result in better scores and boost their self esteem. According to vitanna.org, over 90 percent of students have found that standardized tests have a positive effect on their achievement.

One issue students voiced their concerns about was whether standardized testing was an accurate representation of their knowledge. “Some people just aren’t good test takers, and others might be stressed out or have anxiety, which doesn’t allow them to do their best work. I think standardized tests test your memory because you have to remember the information you learned in order to get the right answers. I’m not sure if it tests your skills though,” Vincent said.

That is a common misconception, that standardized tests are made to measure IQ. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, The SAT is not designed as an indicator of student achievement, but rather as an aid for predicting how well students will do in college.

Another problem students have is that standardized testing wastes instruction time. “I think standardized testing is necessary to a certain extent, which would be less than the amount of testing we currently have. I think it does waste time that could be used for instruction. If we had a more reasonable amount of testing, we could use the time for instruction and probably cut down the school year a little bit,” Vincent said.

While standardized test does take days out the school year, sacrificing a few hours of instruction prepares students. “Standardized tests prepares us for college, which is the school’s main promise. College will have testing to a higher degree, and students will not do as well without the practice from standardized testing,” senior Wesly Horton said.

Another problem students voiced is that standardized testing contributes to widening the achievement gap. “Many kids don’t do well on purpose, some actually can’t do well, and others do extremely well. There is a wide range of scores, and on top of that, many students have other abilities; arts, sports, computers; so these talents aren’t really accounted for on these tests which is kind of unfair,” Vincent said.

Putting the spotlight on a group of students isn’t the standardized test makers intent. They created their tests in the first place to help those who are struggling. According to education post.org, the purpose of state tests isn’t to test individual students, it’s to check the education system as a whole.

Standardized tests may be the catalyst to student stress, yet without them we’d be at a loss of how the education system operated. Standardized tests improve education.

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