Just Testing You

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Credited to TyAnna Fernandes

TyAnna Fernandes, Staff Writer

Throughout Elementary school, Junior High, and High School students are required to consistently take standardized tests. We’ve become so accustomed to the fact that we have to take these tests that most of us have just settled with taking them. However, there are still plenty of us left that wonder what the purpose of these tests are. Many say that standardized tests, like SAT and ACT, are necessary in order to get into college. But that’s where more questions come from. Not only do some people choose not to go to college, there’s also a general agreement amongst teachers, professors, and students that these scores and tests lack the accuracy needed to be a generalization.

While the MCAS test scores are necessary to graduate, there have been times where exceptions were made. Which begs the question, what was the point of them if they can be cancelled and still allow for students to graduate through other means.

Standardized tests are usually given over a small period of time, around an hour or two, and they are made to cover all the subject material within the class. This short time frame is the main cause of students’ stress, causing panic and abnormal choices when it comes to answers. Along with the point that these classes run for around 9 months because the material is extensive and cannot be covered within a short period. That is where the problem lies.

If the scores aren’t accurate, what is the point of taking a standardized test? To show colleges your skills? If the scores aren’t accurate then the skillset that is being presented by the scores is also inaccurate.

“[I] Don’t think it’s a true measure of anything,” said Jamie Sylvia, a teacher, who has been working in the school district for almost thirty years.

After asking Sylvia a series of questions, it’s very evident that standardized tests don’t prove much, or show much. So, what is their purpose?

Looking outside of school it becomes even more evident that standardized tests are virtually useless. Employers don’t require your standardized test scores at all. They never ask for it, it’s never brought up. Even if you are working as a teacher, they don’t ask what your standardized test scores are.

After some more research, one use for standardized tests appears, scholarships. Scholarships like the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship are given depending on MCAS scores. This is useful for students who make the choice to attend college, however, for those who don’t, taking any other standardized test is useless. Even if MCAS is useful to graduate, there are better ways to gather information for generalization of categories for students.

Basing the general average of students can be gathered using the same method but through grades, and progression of grades throughout their school careers.

At the end of the day, standardized tests are one way of categorizing students. Whether the categories hold any accuracy or if they’re useful is up to question but they do what they are made to. Standardized tests hold no purpose outside of categorization though, making them useless for a lot of students.