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The Cavalier

Standardized testing promotes stress with no indication of learning

Sarah Gordon, Opinion Section Editor

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It’s that time of year again. Classes are being put on hold. Students are starting to grab their pencils and calculators. Teachers are changing lesson plans.

All so that students across the county can sit down at a desk for the next several hours, hearing the same dry instructions for the fiftieth time, and filling out yet another bubble grid. That desk fills a student with dread.

A study from Columbia University explains that “standardized testing evaluates a student’s performance on one particular day and does not take into account external factors. There are many people who simply do not perform well on tests. Many of these students are smart and understand the content, but it doesn’t show on the test.” These tests were not designed with the needs of the individual student in mind; rather they are created for a general population, to examine how a diverse range of students perform.

These tests also do not accommodate for diverse students’ needs and requirements beyond what an Individualized Education Plan might provide. Other students who do not perform well on tests may not be accommodated for at all. It is an imbalance in the education system that proves very little.

This failure to perform well on tests can easily affect future student performances; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that test anxiety affects many students in many ways, including a fear of failure, lack of preparation, or simply poor performance on previous exams.

While there are options to help resolve this anxiety, it is not a long term solution. It is becoming more difficult to opt out of state led exams, and many colleges still require scores from entrance exams.

In the end, testing has become more of a disruption than a beneficial tool for measurement. As the University of Lethbridge Teacher Center argues, “these once-a-year tests are not likely to be of much value to classroom teachers as you plan and carry out day-to-day instruction. They are assessments of learning that are too infrequent, broad in focus, and slow in returning results to inform the ongoing array of daily decisions.” Dropping standardized testing across the nation could turn out to be more beneficial.

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Standardized testing promotes stress with no indication of learning