Sierra Says: Standardized Test’s Are Overrated


Photo by Sierra Webb

Students prepare for another county-made test. Teachers have been pushed to give us these unbeneficial tests.

Sierra Webb , Reporter

The sound of pencils tapping the table unsteadily rings in my ears as if the sound of a train has just passed. Sighs interrupt the stillness in the room as the teacher passes out the thick white papers to the students on the end of the rows. Groaning irritably, students begin to fill in their names on the scantron sheet. Pencils sloppily fill in the empty space provided to fill in unwanted answers. The drained voice of the teacher begins to speak, interrupting the sound of the pencils writing. “You may not write on this test,” and the rest is just a blur. This is what it feels like to take another unnecessary standardized test.
Every year students are expected to take some sort of standardized test. Depending on your grade level the test differs, whether it’s the Four Way Test, PARCC test, or PSATS. We’ve been fed into a system where taking standardized tests is considered “crucial” to the way we learn, and although I do agree that tests for classes such as science, math, English, and history are important, I do not think that county-made tests are beneficial. Growing up with MSA’s in elementary school, at a very young age we were told they were “important” and that we had to do well on them, and that our scores would reflect how intelligent we were. Now, being a pre-adolescent child taking the MSA determined what classes you were in, either the smart classes or the not so smart classes.
Growing up a poor test taker, I’ve dealt with this throughout school and I do not believe that standardized tests should reflect on one’s grade. Tests have been known to cause a lot of anxiety for students, especially in high school, and I do believe they are essential for students to take, but they are just over-stressed.
Useless tests such as the Four Way Test and PAARC do absolutely nothing to better students or teachers. PAARC is not a grade, nor does it prepare you for the SATS, so why do we take these tests? Because administrators do not give us a choice.
The Four Way Test is an orally presented test that is supposed to help students develop their speaking and memorizing skills. This does not help students by any means, possibly because nowadays people at least use monitors or note cards to read speeches or presentations to a group of people.
Lastly you have the SATS. Now, I know that the SAT’s will never go away but they are one of the biggest stressor on getting accepted to your desired college. Recently, seventh and eighth grade students at a school in Texas took the STAAR reading test, where poems A Real Case and Midnight appeared on the test. English teachers handed out the test to their students but when the students asked what the answers were after the test, the English teachers could not figure out the answers. Worried, one of the English teachers emailed the poet of both of the poems, and he responded with an apology because he did not know the answers either. This is an example of the pressures of taking unnecessary standardized tests that stress out both the student and the teacher.
Standardized tests are overemphasized and pressured into the education system that makes us as students, believe that these tests are “beneficial,” when in reality the administration does not even know the answers themselves.