Standardized Testing Is Bad For The Education System

The Growing Emphasis On Standardized Testing Is Bad For The Education System

Schools have put way too much emphasis on tests that have absolutely no purpose other than to create an artificial learning environment.

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I was in my English class today, a lecture hall that focuses predominantly on reading novels and interpreting why stories are told when my professor looked up at all of us and called us "survivors."

Confused at where this was going to lead, he continued by saying "You guys are in a dangerous time. My son is in middle school and living it now, and it terrifies me, but you guys survived it. For you to be sitting here, still passionate about books, still wanting to learn and read and write, your creativity was salvaged."

He continued by saying, "My son used to come home so excited to tell me about the things he learned in school and the activities they were doing, but for these past two months, they have put their teacher's lesson plans on hold and are preparing for standardized testing. Now he comes home unamused and uninterested to talk. His grades are plummeting and he doesn't show as much of an interest in school anymore and it terrifies me."

This stuck with me.

To live in a generation where showing an interest in any type of art was enough for our professor to applaud us for actually put a pit in my stomach.

To hear about my professor's son have his imaginative soul stolen by a place that was supposed to encourage it... hurt me.

I thought back about all the questions I used to ask, all the bizarre ideas I used to have, the number of crazy stories I wanted to write about and all the books I used to read when I was a child and compared them to how I felt now.

Somewhere in the line from childhood to teenage years, I feel like a part of all of us was stolen too.

As much as we didn't want it to happen we started being framed into what the school curriculum wanted us to be. As soon as a number score became more profitable and easier to measure than our minds and individuality we started to follow a frame created by school systems that took time from the things we were most passionate about.

Getting a higher grade on a math test that you didn't care about became more important than searching for knowledge in realms that you were most eager to learn about.

There is something unsettlingly wrong with the school system and it needs to change.

School exists for the purpose of education. It is supposed to encourage and strengthen the minds of children and teenagers. It's supposed to make the world a place of unimaginable discoveries and adventure and curiosity. It's supposed to answer questions but more importantly, fuel them.

Recently though, it seems like the only thing it has been doing is stripping students of their individuality and creativity.

Students who may not have a passion in the field of math or English are forced to be molded into the student sitting directly next to them.

With each standardized test, conformity progresses and the creativity of these growing minds is put on hold and forced to remain stagnant.

The what if? And why? Questions become limited to the tiny one-millimeter bubble of an A-B-C-or-D answer sheet. Is that what we want our education to be confined to? Four letters to choose from and a number stamped on the top of a sheet.

A number that determines the path you will take and the success you will be having in life. A number that so inaccurately measures intelligence and completely disregards creativity and originality.

Standardized testing is taking over school systems and stripping adolescents of their creativity.

It breaks my heart to see students who are insanely intelligent and creative feel as if they are not capable or good enough because of the number a standardized test has labeled them with.

Schools have put way too much emphasis on tests that have absolutely no purpose other than to create an artificial learning environment.

Schools have begun to spend months prior prepping for these tests, carving away precious time for actual education, and making students lose interest in the lessons they are truly passionate about. Being passionate about something shouldn't make you a "survivor," it's what makes us human, but standardized testing and the growing emphasis on standardized testing robs students of this freedom every day.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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