Standardized Tests Don’t Measure One’s True Ability

Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the staff writer of this editorial article do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Journalism class nor those of Caledonia High School and Caledonia Community Schools and their official policies. This article is student work that expresses an individual student’s opinions as they develop their writing and communication skills as young journalists. The author of each article published on this web site owns their own words.

According to InformEd, “Grades don’t measure intelligence and age doesn’t define maturity.”

In today’s society, many students’ futures depend on a singular test score. As colleges are becoming even more competitive, tests like the SAT and ACT have quickly become the deciding factor on whether one will be accepted into an institution of higher education.

Both college and secondary schools assess their students on the ability to think deeply and analyze what they are being taught, but are not providing students with the correct testing format. As most standardized tests are timed, this adds a new level of stress, as some students find it difficult to work well under pressure. When the brain becomes overly stressed, the working memory part of the brain becomes blocked, defeating the entire purpose of “fluency” when taking a timed test, according to Lisa Olsen and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Not only that, but some students are not good test takers, failing to show their full potential as they’re being assessed. As there are different styles of learning, the “one size fits all” approach, according to Alexandra Daniels of the Sonoma State Star, is both unfair and inaccurate to the abundant amount of teaching and learning approaches.

As teachers have been known to “teach to the test”, learning life skills in class has been replaced by the need to memorize material in order to pass the class or get a good test score. This essentially limits the United States’ ability to produce innovators and critical thinkers. As this continues to be a growing issue in the United States, colleges are beginning to make the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests optional. This allows all students to show their full potential in both their academics and their ability to critically think at college level. This evidence concludes that standardized tests do not show a student’s full potential when determining their future. Why should the next step in someone’s life be decided from a 50 question Scantron test that knows nothing about them?

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