A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Improve the Way We Test Student Growth

We have all once taken a standardized test or at least prepared for one. Schools love to focus on helping the student to do good on these standardized tests. It’s been around for a long time. I think it’s time for a change and we should improve on the way we test. Standardized tests only measure a small portion of what we do in school. There is a lot of pressure when taking standardized tests. 

Throughout our school years, we have been told to do good on this test because it is important to do good for college. Students feel pressure to do good and it can affect the confidence of a student. I feel like students often feel that when teachers are left to teach us for standardized tests it feels rushed. It’s not about the importance of the problem but how fast you can answer the problem. Standardized tests only test us in specific areas like math, English, reading, and science. There are other areas where a student can show they are good, like creativity, work ethic, and communication skills. According to late education researcher Gerald W. Bracey, Ph.D., qualities that standardized tests cannot measure include “creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, and curiosity.”  

According to The Washinton Post, “Schools that perform poorly on high-stakes-tests are labeled “failures” and sometimes have resources taken away from them. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on testing in Pennsylvania are not available for classroom education.” Not many schools offer help with standardized tests and often have to pay for help. Low-income families aren’t able to afford to get help for there students. Standardized tests aren’t fair for students with special needs or non-English speakers. Special education students take the same tests as other children, receiving a few of the accommodations usually provided to them as part of their Individualized Education Plans. 

I feel like there are other ways we can change standardized testing. I think we should get rid of timed testing. The student will be actually learning the test instead of finding a way  to find the answer the fastest. It will decrease stress for students knowing that they could take there time on the test. Students should take different parts of the test at different times and not all on the same day. Taking a test all on the same day is stressful, but if students could take on a section of the test on a different day it allows the student to prepare themself for that section. The teacher should find different ways to help us with the standardized test and should be taught how to teach students when taking the test. Instead of teaching specific skills that are subject-related, they teach students how to take the test well instead. This practice hinders the potential that a child has to learn, removes creativity from the classroom, and causes children to dread going to school more than they already do.


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