Why standardized tests are harmful to students as they enter the real world


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Here's why standardized tests are bad for students as they enter the real world.

In the past few weeks, CESJDS sophomores and juniors have taken the practice SAT and ACT tests to familiarize themselves with what will become critical components of the college admissions process. While this is a common practice across the country, standardized tests should be reevaluated to see whether their use is really worth all of the harm that they do to students, such as replacing their normal learning habits with constant stressful preparation and making students believe that learning is not as important as the grade that comes with it.

To start off, standardized tests are a major cause of stress in high school students all across the country. Students spend hours and hours of time preparing for a test that they believe decides their future when they could be spending that time having fun or learning useful information.

If a student performs poorly on a standardized test, they can face increased pressure from their parents and peers to do better and be “smarter.” This can lead to students resenting learning and believing that they are worse than everyone else because of their low score.

In addition, many colleges are making the SAT and ACT tests optional, with more colleges taking this approach each year. If colleges do not require these tests, then there should be no reason for students to still be taking them since they cause so much stress and harm.

Standardized tests also do not take into account other factors that are unique to each student, such as their mental health, family life or socioeconomic status. 

Often, students from wealthier households have higher scores because of tutors and programs to which poorer students might not have access. This leads to inequality on the score sheets and an increased rate of wealthier students accepted into colleges, even when they are not necessarily smarter than less affluent students.

You might say that standardized tests allow students to learn more from the test than they would otherwise in the classroom and that it prepares them for college. In reality,  preparation often takes away from other learning that students could be doing as they spend all their time memorizing and repeating basic information that they need for these tests.

Also, when a student does well on a standardized test, it does not mean that they now know what they need to know before they get to college. Its only significance is that the student was able to memorize and cram the information before the test, which they then probably forgot as quickly as they had learned it.

Standardized tests also teach students that memorization and last-minute learning of information is a tool necessary for life. Furthermore, tests lead to the general belief in kids that learning is only important for how you will be graded on it.

Standardized tests are at risk of causing students to lose the original purpose of learning: for learning’s sake. We should rethink whether those tests are still worth taking.