Standardized tests hinder full potential

Standardized tests hinder full potential

Grace Yoon

Standardized tests are a prevailing way to measure the abilities of students. However, although standardized tests were made to improve education in America, I believe these tests have been holding students back from achieving their full potential. Our former president, Barack Obama said, “You’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about math. All you’re learning about is how to fill out a bubble on an exam, and the little tricks you need to take a test” (Is the Use). Standardized tests teach us memorization, not comprehension of what we learn. We need to be able to learn and grow through school not receive knowledge that will easily be forgotten after exams.

When students fail to do well on standardized tests it’s the teachers that are punished. Many teachers lose wages or even their jobs. Because of these severe consequences teachers start to “teach the test” by only focusing on subjects that will be included in the assessment. “In Montary High School on September 11th, 2002, teachers didn’t discuss the twin tower attacks because they were too busy preparing for tests” (Is the Use). Tests not only impact our lives but the lives of our educators noticeably and do well on these exams are crucial. But the more we study for standardized evaluations we become obvious to the world around us. In Chicago 2012, teachers went on strike. They protested 40% of their jobs should not depend on standardized tests (Mooney 40). The teachers argued that the tests were an inaccurate way to measure their student’s abilities and therefore was an inaccurate way to measure their teaching abilities. Knowing the Pythagorean Theorem will not get us far in life. We must be able to understand how to interact with others, handle difficult situations, and creatively solve problems. Standardized tests measure none of these abilities and instead measure our ability to cram in as much knowledge necessary to pass an exam.

“Standardized tests don’t measure the qualities we (universities) value the most- intellectual, curiosity, and an eagerness for learning,” said Paul Steenis, vice-principal at the University of Knox. A good student should be curious and eager to learn more but a standardized test doesn’t measure these qualities in students (More). Kung He Kim, a researcher blames standardized tests for the lack of creativity in America. She believes that these tests neglect creative students, causing them to become underachievers (Is the Use). Students need to discover knowledge through experience and trial and error. When all our time is spent preparing for tests we lack the time to explore the world around us and come upon lessons that we will remember throughout our lives.

“Kindergarteners playtime had dwindled to the vanishing point and instead their playtime was used to study for standardized tests.” (Is the Use) Even at this early age, students lose their freedom to play and learn. Playtime for kindergarteners is a time where they meet people and learn to interact with others helping them and share and work as a group. Also in schools “44% of school districts have reduced the time spent on science, social studies, and the arts to focus on reading and math” (Is the Use). History is a lesson where we learn about the mistakes of the past and learn from previous failures. Science allows us to learn about our environment. Art and music help us grow our imagination and creativity. Is doing well on one test enough of an achievement to miss out on learning valuable lessons?

Anxiety is common among students before taking a test. The “Stanford 9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test in case a student vomits on it” (Is the Use). During testing periods anxiety can harm student performances. Students suffer from angst and restlessness that will affect the performance of even the brightest students.

Because teachers are rewarded and punished through standardized tests students aren’t able to learn properly because teachers start to focus only on things that are on the test. Because standardized tests are about memorizing facts, creativity and knowledge are being left behind. Because standardized tests are measured unfairly students are made to feel like failures as early as kindergarten. A simple test does not determine who you are. As Dr. Seuss says “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can take yourself in any direction you choose”

Works Cited

“Is the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America? .” ProConorg Headlines, 31 Jan. 2017, 11:26:46 AM,

Mooney, Carla. Standardized Testing. Lucent Books, 2015.

“More universities drop standardized tests.” Women in Higher Education, Aug. 2005, p. 3. General OneFile, Accessed 2 Feb. 2018.