A Standardized America
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A Standardized America

"Education is the foundation upon which we build our future." -Christine Gregoire

A Standardized America

Imagine sitting at a desk for three hours with minimal five minute breaks under immense pressure where one test can decide your future. You can feel your hands sweating, feet swirling, and an uneasy tension in the room where a proctor stares at you while taking the test. Every year, students all over the U.S. are purged into these emotions while taking standardized tests for colleges to admit the “smartest” out of the pool. Intelligence is defined as one's capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving. Standardized tests fail to assess these characteristics which negates its overall purpose and should not be heavily relied upon for accurate student progress.

Economic costs play a key role in education. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the proper resources needed to prepare for the exams. Why not allow all students to be prepared for the test with equal training? The answer lies in College Board: a very profitable non-profit organization. Each year, the SAT is sponsored by College Board, administered by the Educational Testing Service, taken by nearly 1.5 million people, and used in admissions by more than 1,500 colleges and universities. Students sign up for test prep courses, practice books, and the tests itself; all of which provide a hefty revenue for College Board making it a $1.3 million monopoly. It all comes down to a simple business tactic to keep the tests, despite its multiple flaws. Every student is entitled to an equal opportunity, therefore the schools itself should have the proper resources needed to prepare students for the tests.

Many schools in various states don’t receive equal funding for teaching students. Making every student take the same test when one school has more funding and better access to learning tools than another divides students based on where they receive their education. This is unfair for the students whose schools don’t have enough money for them to learn and prepare for the test properly. In reality, the test isn’t picking the smartest, but the ones who grew up surrounded by access to academic advantages. Test scores can even impact how much funding a school receives from the government, putting immense pressure on school officials, teachers, and students. The pressure to succeed in this manner creates an environment of fear--a poor environment for learning. Schools are now considered a compilation of achievement tests, instead of a place where students are prepared for the future. There is much more to an education than just picking the right answer to an exam and teachers are merely teaching for the tests. There is no active learning taking place with nothing new to get the students excited. These variables are far more important than being prepared for one aptitude test, as they help prepare our teens for the future.

It is completely agreeable that colleges need to find a way to determine which students will be a hallmark for them, and there’s no doubt that they cannot accept every single student that applies. Testing is an essential element because it shows how motivated students are to learn and without them, there wouldn’t be a way to distinguish based on academics. Almost every profession requires knowledge by the person and standardized testing aids in the process of allowing students to present this. However, despite these advantages to standardized testing, they are causing more harm than good. It is not unknown to the world that the U.S. treads academically behind in most subjects. This indicates that there is a flaw in our education system, preventing students from displaying their academic potential, expressing the increased need for active learning and decreased weight on aptitude tests. The implementation of fairer testing methods with an increased emphasis on grades, extra-curricular activities, teacher recommendations, and personal essays could serve to be a reliable predictor of success because it displays the student’s progress over their four year journey in high school. The day we understand this concept, will be the day when students will enjoy the gift of education and America will lead the world regarding academics.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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