Flaws in Standardized Tests

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Flaws in Standardized Tests

Caroline Carter, Staff Writer

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Every student dreads the time of year for standardized tests. Despite the amount of time students spend studying, there is no way to know what material will be on the test. In public high schools across Georgia, the end of course assessments (EOC) account for 20% of students’ grades. Although, scores don’t affect students alone, the scores reflect how well a teacher has delivered the curriculum.

The state issues tests to students from fourth grade until graduation; however, the social studies portion is removed in high school. As a student, it seems as though no amount of studying will prepare us enough for the tests. The state of Georgia felt the need to reboot standardized testing by creating a test to be taken on a computer, as opposed to the pencil/paper method. The criteria on the new tests are more challenging than that of the old to achieve more accurate scores. However, a sense of foreboding builds as you click the “next question” button, and the screen pauses with the spinning circle in the middle of the screen. With so many students using the school’s wifi simultaneously, computers tend to lag. Some students may be logged out of the test, or the computers will completely turn off, resulting in students needing to start over on the test.

Teachers loathe standardized testing just as much as, if not more than, students. The time of year for testing is long, stressful, and boring, so why do it? Why should one test define our abilities as students and how well teachers have instructed us? This one test is not a representation of anyone’s level of intellect. Many factors go into test results, such as the amount of sleep the night prior, diet, cramming the day prior to/day of the test, relationships, overall stress, etc. One could have a steady A average in a class, but one bad day could ruin his/her GPA.

A grade not only reflects students’ efforts, but teachers’ commitment to the classroom, as well. Students can prepare months before the test, but there is no way of knowing what will appear, until they are sitting in front of the computer, taking the test.  The state wants to capture a snapshot, if you will, of each student, but it does nothing other than add an unnecessary amount of stress to the lives of students, teachers, and administrators.

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