Standardized tests have historically been used as measures of how students compare with each other or how much of a particular curriculum they have learned.
Increasingly, standardized tests are being used to make major decisions about students, such as grade promotion or high school graduation, and schools. More and more often, they also are intended to shape the curriculum and instruction. Students across America have had to repeat classes because of the way standardized tests are used to pass or fail students. Students have had to rely on just one test to pass them for the whole semester (FairTest). Although the tests require students to retain information until the end of the semester, I believe it is wrong to allow just a single test to decide whether an entire semester’s work will be rewarded will the credit that may have been well earned.
Even general standardized tests such as the SAT, which almost every high school student has taken, are not fair to students who may come from a poor educational background (Standardized Minds). Students are at a disadvantage if they have test taking anxiety, a condition that many students suffer from. If a student is having a bad day or going through a rough time on a test day, this may also determine their entire semester’s work. Standardized tests are often based on one topic, giving the student little room to express their strong points.
Tests are called “high-stakes” when they used to make major decisions about a student, such as high school graduation or grade promotion. Tests are called “standardized” when all students answer the same questions under similar conditions and their responses are scored in the same way. Research has shown that high-stakes testing causes damage to individual students and education. It is not a reasonable method for improving schools.
Test-taking anxiety is common among high school and college students. The anxiety can be quite stressful and sometimes weakening, both personally and academically. It is a condition that thousands of students suffer from and it is something that they cannot help or overcome by the time of a test. Students who suffer from this often get very panicked by exams, and most of the time they draw a blank during a test, even though they know the material well (High-stakes).
This anxiety is very difficult for students to overcome especially when the test results will determine whether or not they will pass the course, or even graduate. I believe that the school board should take this into consideration and recognize that intelligent students who do well in school also suffer from this anxiety. Tests are designed to evaluate what was learned over a period of time, not to punish the student for what may confuse them on a test. When standardized tests contain other information that may not have been covered in class students often panic and do poorly on the exam. Aside from having the anxiety and stress from testing, students also go through times of loss, tragedy, crisis or any other life changing events that cause distraction in their school work.
Every student has their bad days no matter what. How students cope with it is the issue. Many high school and college students have difficulty coping and dealing with their problems and it often reflects on not only their school work but more importantly their exams. The standardized testing system is not fair under these circumstances. I as well as many other students across America experience several days during which it is extremely difficult for me to concentrate and apply myself to the fullest while having other worries and concerns on my mind.
With this in mind, it is wrong for these exams to be a determinant on the passing or failing of a course. The school board has not given students any other options or alternatives to accommodate them during hard times. Many times when students are going through a tragedy or crisis and are required to take a standardized test, they are overwhelmed with the stress of test taking anxiety at the same time (FairTest). “Don’t punish students for the state’s failure” was the message from a standing-room-only crowd jamming a hearing .