Standardized Tests Are A Terrible Measure Of A Student's Intelligence
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Student Life

Standardized Tests Are A Terrible Measure Of A Student's Intelligence

I'm not smarter than every single person with a lower ACT score than me, I'm just a really good test taker.

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someone taking an exam

As an education major, I spend a lot of time talking and thinking about the most accurate ways to assess my future students and measure their knowledge of the content I will be teaching them. Some of these methods include writing essays, having open discussions, and allowing students to do projects and presentations on aspects of the subject matter that interest them. These methods allow students to put things in their own words and show that they can relate to the material. The type of assessment that doesn't do that at all is standardized testing.

If you really take the time to look at it, you will see that tests like the ACT and the SAT are actually terrible at measuring a student's intelligence. For almost every student in the United States, one or sometimes both of these tests are required for students to be accepted into universities, and some school systems even require a student take one or both before they can graduate high school.

These kinds of tests are terrible, because more than anything, they test your ability to take a test. They are riddled with time constraints that put limits on students who have trouble focusing, they are often full of content that some students will have never even seen in a classroom or otherwise when they go to take the test, and they often purposely try to trick students into choosing the wrong answer. Standardized tests don't really test knowledge at all, they only test your ability to fit a mold.

When I was in high school and would go to workshops for the ACT, which is the test most often used in my state, the workshops were focused on teaching us "tricks" to raise our score rather than the actual content the majority of the time. If you asked me how to do any given problem on the math section of the ACT, I would probably get it wrong, but I can tell you all the best tips and tricks to guess the right answer and save time on the test.

I do not hold this opinion because I have low standardized test scores. In fact, my high score on the ACT is what pays for me to be able to attend college. I am proud of my ACT score, but I am also self-aware enough to know that it is only what it is because I am a good test taker. I don't get test anxiety, I memorize things easily, and when all else fails I am a fantastic guesser. I hold this opinion about the inadequacy of standardized tests because I have friends who are just as smart and talented as I am (maybe even more so in some cases) that can barely afford to go to college, or can't afford to go at all, because their standardized test scores weren't high enough for them to get scholarships.

The fact of the matter is, standardized tests don't benefit everyone. In fact, they don't even benefit the majority of students. Albert Einstein once said, "If you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." By determining students' worthiness of going to college by their score on a 4 hour test, we are doing exactly that. If education is a priority in the United States, it might do well to come up with a system that actually measures what students are and aren't learning so that we as future educators can see what we can improve on, rather than just continuing to teach students how to take tests.

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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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