Why Standardized Tests?

Olivia Schultz

The word “test” can immediately make a student’s heart race.

Most students in the United States are required to take standardized tests or exit exams to graduate, but are they as productive as they may seem?. A standardized test is a timed exam which students take to measure their level of knowledge. They are used to determine a student’s entrance into college. These tests are most commonly taken during a high schooler’s junior year which is what SPASH follows. The real question is, are they worth it? 

Standardized tests ,like the ACT or the SAT, show that they have not correlated with the average GPA. The GPA is the grade point average that students work on all of their high school careers. The American Educational Research Association (AERA) explains, “students that continued to college with a higher test score had a lower rate of graduation than the students who had a lower test score.” That shows how the average GPA for students gives colleges a better understanding of a student’s knowledge than the standardized tests. This means that no matter how well students do on these exams, their GPA shows a better understanding of their skills. 

Many students have experienced negative effects on their mental health because of standardized tests. NYSUT , which is an organization of teachers in New York state, explains, “testing young students has increased the amount of anxiety for students. It can also lead to students crying, vomiting, etc. while taking these tests.” It can cause more harm to a student than just their education and it can also disrupt their well-being. The accuracy of that student’s test score is hard to measure. Stevens Point Area School District takes away school days from all grades just so the juniors can have their testing days. The real question is, are standardized tests worth the loss of school time? 

A graph to show how much time it takes which is taking away from learning time in school.

A counselor at SPASH, who is also in charge of the standardized testing here at school, was willing to express her opinions about timed tests. Mrs. Ries commented, “standardized tests help a student understand what they are good at and the same for not good at. It could help a student with deciding what major is best for them.” She also goes against that opinion by explaining how the test is bad for a student’s future. She starts by saying “I wish they would get rid of them quite frankly.” Then she continues with “there are better ways to test a student than by a timed test.” They are not accurate to determine who a person is just by their time management. 

Overall, there are very different opinions on the topic, but it is important to think about how this can waste the opportunity for students to get more school time. Also, the loss of accuracy the test holds because of the increase of mental stress and the time management that is required. Standardized tests have been used as the best way to test someone for over two hundred years. It is time to evaluate if these tests should still be required.