Too much standardized testing?


India Blake, Reporter

In the wake of President Obama’s and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ announcements concerning their stances on standardized testing, that it should be reduced, the routine assessments have come under criticism. Standardized testing should be lessened because the number of tests, the stress they cause, and the unfairness of them are unnecessary and harmful.
According to a study by the Council of the Great City Schools, students in the United States take an average of 113 standardized tests between Pre-K and 12th grade. This number includes the many district assessments, state-required tests like the STAAR test and exams like the PSAT, SAT and ACT. This amount of testing significantly exceeds that of other countries, with no visible benefits.
Many students will begin studying for the SAT and ACT months in advance, spend hundreds of dollars on seminars and take them multiple times to get their ideal scores. These tests, as well as state assessments like STAAR, hold a lot of weight and therefore can be stressful to students. SAT scores can potentially determine which colleges accept you and failing the STAAR test can result in students being held back. The pressure is a lot to handle for children as young as 14.
While the purpose of standardized testing is to ensure an even playing field, it isn’t enough to compensate for other factors that influence scores. According to The Atlantic, low income schools often can’t afford the materials needed to prepare students for these exams and students can’t afford the expensive prep classes, therefore putting several students at a disadvantage. Some students may also suffer from testing anxiety, which can interfere with their scores, especially paired with the inherent stress of these assessments.
Those for standardized testing argue that it is a fair way to test students as they’re answering the same questions. Another point is that these tests are useful for gathering data and they prepare students for college. Collecting data from class tests and removing some of the assessments from the curriculum would still provide statistics, but would be less stressful for students and teachers.
Decreasing the number of standardized tests and making test preparation less expensive would be effective solutions that would ease students’ stress and save students and schools money. Data would still be collected and academic skill measured, but without the stress and hassle that comes along with testing.