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Are Standardized Tests Worth It Anymore?

This article teaches its readers about standardized testing and its pros and cons. 


For most children in America, they start to take standardized tests as young as elementary school and take one every year until they graduate high school. You may be asking yourself, what is a standardized test? 


According to StudyUSA, “A standardized test is a test that is given to students in a very consistent manner; meaning that the questions on the test are all the same, the time given to each student is the same, and the way in which the test is scored is the same for all students.” Next, studying for months in advance with no understanding of what is exactly going to be on the test, students considering attending college, will most likely be required to take the SAT and/or ACT to determine their academic excellness and readiness for higher education. Lastly, students who want to get a degree pass a bachelor degree, are most likely going to have to take another standardized test such as the LSAT or MCAT. All in all, it is almost impossible not to go through life without completing a standardized test, especially if you plan to further your education and pass high school. 


Again, you ask yourself, why is the United States going off one exam to see how smart a person is, rather than the grades that they have in school? As a matter of fact, the standardized tests can provide data to compare schools to each other in the US and internationally. Additionally, there are no open ended questions, just multiple choices. With this, there can be no human subjectivity or bias. Equally important, standardized tests can evaluate the effectiveness of a school. By evaluating children’s performances, you are also evaluating the school and also seeing the evaluation, teachers will be able to determine what areas of learning needs to be improved. 


Although it may be true that some experts of standardized tests claim to be fair because they take measures to remain unbiased and every test has the same questions, studies done can show you they are not. With this in mind, studies show that children from minority groups have on average lower scores than white children. According to the study, this can be because some minorities live in poverty areas with lesser school opportunities than non-poverty areas.


Henceforth if colleges decided to not require standardized tests it could “expand the applicant pipeline, bring more racial, ethnic and economic diversity to campuses, and raise the aspirations of students residing on the tough side of American inequality.” 


Similarly, it is not a secret that many students have test anxiety. Some children may find it hard to focus and do well under pressure, especially if they have a learning disability. With being primarily judged on one test score, students that are not good test takers may have a difficult time going to college or getting into a college that they deserve to attend. It is important to note that not all majors have classes that require them to take tests. 


Shockingly, more and more colleges are not requiring SATs and ACTs scores to apply to their college. To further this point, during the pandemic, many students were to take the standardized test and schools no longer asked for them. As an illustration, many prestigious schools such as University of Oregon, University of Colorado, Boulder, Northwest University, New York Institute of Technology,  and Michigan State University have all permanently removed the requirement for standardized testing needed to apply to their schools. Despite the fact that some schools removed the mandate, top schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, and United States Naval Academy, still require the test scores. 


According to an ESL teacher located in South Jersey, she says that she has mixed feelings about standardized tests. “ I think they can be effective and not effective. It can show growth, but also some students aren’t strong with them. There’s a test my students take 3x a year called MAP that shows their growth and shows how well I’m teaching. It’s great because kids do show lots of growth and it’s math, reading and language. However, my students being ESL take another test called ACCESS every year about their English skills. That test is hard and can keep kids in ESL till they pass it. I don’t think it’s the best and there needs to be better ways to exit kids from ESL.” 


Based on the teacher’s opinion on the SATs and ACTs she believed that it should not exist and it should not be the focus on why a person is good enough for college. Overall, she believes that there should be other factors to consider and not just test results. 


To conclude, standardized tests are for all ages but in many people’s opinion, the one that matters the most for people trying to get into higher education, such as college, is the SATs or the ACTs. The standardized tests are good to show growth for what needs to be done in the future to further children’s education, but not all of them take it seriously. Additionally, many people have test anxiety and some do not have the tools to be able to hire tutors to be ready for these kinds of tests. Moreover, the people who can afford the expensive tutors, usually do better. All in all, standardized tests may have worked in the past, but it is time for the education world to evolve to better their students, and many believe that it isn’t standardized testing. 


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