Editorial: State should abolish standardized testing

photo by timlewisnm on Flickr

photo by timlewisnm on Flickr

Every year, from third to twelfth grade, students take two to five standardized tests. This is unfair to the teachers and to the students.

Any student would say taking these tests is stressful. Many of them would agree they are afraid of these tests. This is all unnecessary stress. The test scores (for the PSSAs and Keystones) don’t really have an affect on the student’s’ grades or classes. The results may have some weight for student placement and Keystones are required for graduation, but PSSA scores just show how the school is teaching.  All these tests mean is that the school is teaching kids to think inside the box.

Teachers also lose valuable class time explaining to students what will be on the test, although half of the information would never be used in the real world. Teachers waste weeks’ worth of teaching reviewing for these tests. Students learn how to fill in bubbles and use simple elimination of answers to choose the correct answer.  Of course there are open-ended questions, but some of them do not count.  Math teachers stress that not all of the questions count so this could mean the open-ended as well as some multiple choice.   This time could be used to teach students usable knowledge such as public speaking or improving writing skills.

Instead of these tests, students should face real life issues.  They could be required to take a course where students learn how banking works, how to prepare for job interviews, create resumes, etc.  Children today are forced to learn how to take tests, but when will they ever need to take a 20 point quiz after high school or college?