Columns Opinion

Standardized tests prepare students for failure

Embed from Getty Images

Standardized tests should not be life or death to a student.

Standardized tests force students to cram so they can pass. The focus to keep scores high on tests can hurt students in the long run as they move into higher education.

“Schools that have dropped SAT/ACT requirements say they do it because they don’t think a high-stakes test score is very revealing about a student’s abilities and find that high school grades are a more accurate reflection,” said Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss.

Finally, some colleges agree with students. Maybe now students can learn how to learn and not what to know for tests.

The same applies to professors who only provide two-to-three grades in the whole course. They will have little time to verify if the material is understood when students bend over backwards all semester not knowing if they will pass.

The purpose of the SAT and ACT is to evaluate a person’s intelligence. The problem is that the tests only assess the ability to memorize material, be a good test-taker and stay cool under pressure.

“A nine-year study by the National Research Council (2011) concluded that the emphasis on testing yielded little learning progress but caused significant harm. Negative consequences include narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, pushing students out of school, and driving teachers out of the profession,” according to a post from FairTest, a nonprofit dedicated to prevent the flaws of standardized tests.

The study supported the notion that SATs, ACTs and graduate standardized tests (such as LSAT and GRE) can be harmful.

Students do not thrive in that environment. Clearly, teachers are affected over time.

On the other hand, those tests ensure that schools have to meet a standard in educating students so “you’ll learn it next year” doesn’t become a habit among classes.

Sometimes students know they’re struggling, but they may not know why or how to improve. Standardized testing questions subject-specific knowledge and evaluates reasoning and problem-solving, all of which are helpful to advance in levels of excellence.

There are a few pros to taking standardized testing to enter college.

It equalizes the playing field in getting into a university, no matter where the testing is held. A student can take the GRE in Texas and it will test the same material as the GRE in New Mexico. No favorites can occur in any state.

It also equalizes it on an intimate level. Tests are graded by a computer or by experts who don’t know the students, which minimizes bias.

“Standardized tests can be one part of a comprehensive assessment system… Assessment based on student performance on real learning tasks is more useful and accurate for measuring achievement — and provides more information for teaching – than multiple-choice achievement tests,” according to a post from FairTest.

Other countries, like Finland, do not have standardized tests, but they have some of the brightest students. No wonder they score higher on international exams than the U.S.

If those tests are required, fine, but they shouldn’t be the only deciding factor to a student’s future. Projects, papers and other achievements should have equal weight to prove what a student has learned.

Opinion columnist Crystal Rose is a corporate communications senior and can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment