Student Thoughts on Standardized Testing

Mandy Holmes, Staff Writer

As a sophomore, I recently took the required PSAT. It’s one of many standardized tests students take throughout their careers. It has four different sections, and almost all of the answers are multiple-choice. It’s a timed test, and I know for many students including myself, it was stressful.

I personally think testing like that is unfair, creates stress-filled environments, and takes away from the real purpose of going to school.

I talked to a few other sophomores about their thoughts on standardized tests, and specifically the PSAT, considering we recently took it for the first time.

Santiago said, “I think standardized testing is bad because it’s not a proper assessment of students’ knowledge. The PSAT was a really stressful environment and messed up my schedule because I had to miss class for it.”

Emily said, “I hate it [standardized testing] because it’s really stressful and in the middle of everything else going on. The PSAT made no sense and felt kind of pointless.”

Carys told me, “I think standardized testing is not an accurate way to test kids. I thought the PSAT was very stressful even though it was a practice.”

Overall kids take in information in different ways, and judging them all by one standardized test is crazy. Instead, schools should move towards project-based assessments, where students can actually apply their knowledge and show their growth.

When I asked these same students their thoughts on project-based assessments, their answers were wildly different from the questions about standardized testing.

Emily said, “I think they’re better than testing but, I dislike having a lot of projects at once.”

Santiago told me, “ I think project-based assessments are better because you get to be more creative.”

Carys said, “I think project-based assessments are better for all students because people who are more creative can excel.”

I agree with all these statements. Studying for tests like this also takes away from the reason we go to school, which is to learn. We should be applying our knowledge, instead of wasting time cramming the same information into our heads just to forget it all after a test. All that time spent repeating back information could be used better; like for projects and other work where you are actually applying what you learned. Every student is different and standardized tests are hard for many. It is impossible to accurately determine a student’s knowledge based on one set standard.