You wake up and haul yourself out of bed. You limp into school, and see through your glazed eyes groups of your friends frantically flipping through pages of notes and reviewing in a frenzy. Bloodshot eyes, coffee mugs and passed out students become commonplace in classrooms. Welcome to the month of May, the “deathtrap” of standardized testing and where dreams come to die.
Standardized testing has recently become the bane of students, with many needing to take the SATs, PSATs, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, AP exams, SOLs, the TOEFL, IB exams; the list of torture goes on and on. These acronyms strike fear into every student’s heart and wallet, and have spurred many to speak out against standardized testing.
The argument of many students is that standardized testing is an unfair and inefficient way of measuring a student’s intelligence. Since every test distributed has the same questions, it is simply a matter of whether or not what you remember from the school year is on the test.
Standardized testing has also received opposition against “coachable” exams such as the SATs, where students can easily get a top score with the help of a tutor or prep class. This is true, but this is the same for any other class or endeavor in life. The fact that a student took a prep course shows that they have committed extra time and money and taken initiative to get a higher score.
While it is true that standardized testing is not the ideal way to measure a student’s intelligence, it is the best alternative that we have today. Educational institutes need a benchmark because human judgment is subjective and varies from person to person. Without standardized testing, many schools from around the nation or even the world would find it near-impossible to compare grades due to local differences. The college admissions process is greatly facilitated by standardized testing.
With standardized testing, students present their understanding of the fundamentals with no room for argument. There is only one right answer. 10 times 4 will always equal 40. This prepares students for their quest for knowledge by providing a strong foundation for more extensive and subjective learning in the real world after they graduate. Since the material on standardized tests is identical for every school, the tests provide a direct way to measure a student’s ability to learn and a teacher’s ability to teach.
Standardized testing is not fun, but it is necessary. A benchmark is needed for schools and students at which to aim. An anomaly from a standardized test for a set curriculum shows which students need help, which students are fine and which students are exceptionally gifted. While many students abhor having to take a standardized test, it is something that we must reluctantly accept.
Standardized testing has become the unsurpassed benchmark for measuring student success. In a world of increasing population, it is crucial that there exists a standard way of testing. There is no room for “grey-areas;” testing cannot consist of “I think” or “therefore.” There is, at the moment, no way to measure one student’s opinion against another; that is what essays are for. In order to compare one student’s knowledge to another’s, options, as aforementioned, cannot supply room for argument.