2018-08-29 / Editorial

STANDARDIZED TESTING: IS THE WEIGHT WORTH IT?

Isabella Piccone

Whether students like it or not, standardized testing is a large part of their high school career. These tests provide evaluations for not only students, but teachers and the education system as a whole. However, the amount standardized tests accurately measure one’s abilities is being questioned. As a high school student, I see peers in all of my classes with different learning styles. Some of my friends that score highest on a multiple choice test struggle when asked to write a short answer question. Oppositely, fellow students who can write grade A essays have an extremely hard time when a multiple choice test is put in front of them. Capable, hard-working kids are put under the pressure of taking a three hour test that can affect their entire future, despite all the different learning techniques these students have.

There are variables that can jeopardize the outcome and measurement of one’s abilities on a standardized test. More and more schools are initiating courses and after-school programs to prepare for standardized tests, but not all students are afforded this luxury. Kids who have been tutored for months for one standardized test are entering the same room for the same test with students who have received no preparation at all, but they all have their futures at stake. We must find a balance in our education system to allow all students equal opportunities to succeed despite different learning techniques.

It is understandably difficult to reform a testing system that has been around since the 1920’s. However, there are alternatives to standardized testing such as the Consortium’s assessment system used in New York by 26 public high schools. These schools use performance-based assessments in place of standardized tests and focus on projectbased learning. According to Valerie Strauss in her Washington Post 2012 article “An Alternative to Standardized Testing for Student Assessment”, schools using the Consortium system have seen great change and progress in students; ninetythree percent of Consortium grads remain enrolled in fouryear colleges after the first two years, compared with an average of eighty-one percent nationally. This is the kind of success we need to see and strive for in any and all public school systems.

Public school systems must be more open to change and progress for the sake of their students. It is easy to slap a three hour test on the table but it is not the best option. Optimizing the success of a student’s future should be an educator’s first priority, and we need to take more steps to ensure that our students' capabilities and opportunities are not hindered because of a single test.

Isabella Piccone, 16, is entering the 11th grade at Bernards High School in Bernards Township, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Chris and AnneNeil Piccone and the granddaughter of Roy F. Chalker, Jr. and Kim Chalker.

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