An Open Letter To Standardized Testing
Start writing a post

An Open Letter To Standardized Testing

You know what? I DO blame you.

An Open Letter To Standardized Testing

Dear Standardized Testing,

You have taken yet another to bare witness to what you have in store. She is eight years old. She has short brown hair and big brown eyes. She still has that brave innocence where she can do nothing wrong, where every answer is the right one, and where every question has a simple solution. Last week we were asked to write "words of encouragement" on bright colored sheets of construction paper. I wasn't sure whether to write "Good luck! You'll do great," or-- "You have no idea how much this could break you, I hope it doesn't". She ran to me with excitement and told me about a special trick to make you think "smarter" during the test; chewing gum. I chuckled inside to see this brave small soul taking on the world of your judgment and self-labeling with chewing gum as her most valued defense. I don't remember ever chewing gum during my exams.

I do remember one thing, you broke me. I, a young wide-eyed hopeful, stared up at the towering task that consisted of thin slices of paper. Paper, which seemed so simple before, gained new meaning. The meaning of my value and my future. I'm not sure why, but I saw that stack of paper as my worth. To everyone else, it was just another day, but to me, every word, every letter, had the power to decide who I was. It had to be perfect, right? Wrong. Forcing this ideal on myself made you a threat I could never overcome. The threat grew. The first days of school became unbearable, the first test in a class was critical, and every move had to be calculated. The first day of fourth grade was when the nose bleeds started. Your first writing exam was when I threw up in front of my entire English class, thanks for that. Every day after, you expanded your hold on my life.

This letter is not to blame you or scare future test takers, it is to simply make you understand the power of the number that you labeled me with, that you labeled us all with. Every comparison and every judgment day made me doubt everything that I was. As I stared down at the most innocent pair of eyes, I hoped that she would never have to feel the way I felt, or deal with the repercussions I still struggle with today. You know what, I do blame you. I blame you for making me feel as powerless and finite as a number. I blame you for the way I had to physically concentrate on not making myself fail to avoid disappointment. I blame you for making me have to work twice as hard and I blame you for the panic attacks and the lack of self-esteem.

But most of all, I blame you for making me fear for her future, a future that should be bright, successful, and hopeful, not one filled with fear and doubt. Your overwhelming presence is unavoidable, I know. The world has created a society surrounded with your principles: right, wrong, advanced, lacking, exceptional, average. The words that can make us, break us, and tear us to pieces. I closed the door on the image of that 8-year-old girl, sharpened pencils and Hubba-Bubba Bubble Gum clutched in hand, with a big smile on her face, and I left for school, painfully aware of her ever approaching meeting with — you.


A Testing Veteran

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments