Imagine you are the smartest kid on the block, straight As, and a part of every club on campus. In the spring of your junior year, this college readiness could all be undermined because you didn’t fill in the bubbles correctly. Your future could be completely altered because of standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Standardized tests should not be a way to exemplify the competency of a student because it does not accurately convey
The SAT, for example, is supposed to be a fair-playing field, but how can it be fair if one student can afford a $40 an hour tutor and another student, just as smart, cannot? When testing distributors for the SAT conducted a study, it was found that, “The organization’s [College Board] own data show that wealthier Americans, from more educated families, tend to do far better on the test,” (Washington Post). America has always been seen as a place where people should have equal opportunity, but how can test scores fueled by expensive tutoring create an equal gateway for those trying to enter college? Not only does this affect a student’s acceptance to college, but scholarship opportunities are affected as well. Wealthier students who don’t even need merit-based scholarships are receiving them because they had the money to attend an SAT tutor twice a week. It’s even admitted that, “The companies that create the most important state and national exams also publish textbooks that contain specific testing strategies. Unfortunately, low-income school districts can’t afford to buy them,” (Broussard). How could one argue that schools with the money to buy test preparation textbooks aren’t going to have higher scores than the schools that don’t have money to buy them? This situation then continues to spiral downward, as they continue to get bad test scores and in turn keep losing funding from the state because of it. Standardized tests obviously favor those with socio-economic advantages.
As stated, standardized testing is not something I agree with, but, some of the top decision makers in school districts do approve of this testing world, and because of their positions, respect for their decisions is something that should follow. The SAT and ACT are used to develop an understanding of a student’s college preparedness, but there are other tests like PARK and CSAP. These were created to test younger grades and in turn evaluate the school district, these tests have some of the same basis’ as the ACT and SAT. ProCon.org provides a piece of evidence supporting standardized testing in schools, “Most administrators approve of standardized tests. Minnesota administrators interviewed for a study in the Oct. 28, 2005, issue of the peer-reviewed Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) approved of standardized tests “by an overwhelming two-to-one margin,” saying they “improved student attitudes, engagement, and effort.” (ProCon). Since most administrators do approve of additional testing, it makes sense that they are incorporated into school systems, but, some people question whether they are choosing to have these tests in the schools for the right reasons.
While the scores of students are the ones that we see, teachers are directly affected, because according to the administrators, test results are reflection of students learning. Opponents of standardized testing say, “the tests are neither fair nor objective, that their use promotes a narrow curriculum and drill-like “teaching to the test,” and that excessive testing undermines America’s ability to produce innovators and critical thinkers” (Procon.org). Teachers feel the pressure of scores reflecting on them, so some only teach a standard curriculum without flexibility. It becomes a memorization game, with the goal of teaching them “skills” that will only benefit them on testing days. Teachers are not the only ones that are affected by test scores, the school districts are as well, “A district that consistently fails to meet Adequate Yearly Progress through testing standards may not be able to access some grants and other forms of funding,”(Thompson). If the students of a school district are not testing to the states liking, it could literally take away a district’s ability to provide basic necessities to said students.
In conclusion, Standardized Testing should not continue to be used as a way to exemplify the minds of students. These tests are not a fair playing field for individual students or schools as a whole. They also cause schools to be caught up in the race of teaching their students only how to improve their test scores. We cannot let the future of children be determined by a test graded by a scantron.