By: Emma Mathews
Ever since elementary school, standardized tests have been a part of my life. I never liked them. No child wants to sit there and fill out bubbles for hours when they could be doing something more fun.
When I was in eighth grade, my friends and I were ecstatic that we were done with the standardized test that we’d been dealing with since first grade – the dreaded CRCT.
Little did we know that once we got to high school, it would be so much worse.
We moved on to other tests with lots of letters – the EOCT, and then the SLO. And now, the Milestone Test is in the mix.
I’ve survived those with a lot of deep breaths to calm myself. But then my junior year hit. For some reason that I still haven’t figured out, I decided to enroll in five AP classes – that’s on top of taking the ACT and SAT as well.
Studying for AP’s while also taking state exams means reviewing things like Bacon’s Rebellion on the one hand and answering questions like “In which phrase is the hyphen used appropriately?” for state tests at the same time.
What’s frustrating to me is that many standardized tests don’t work for anyone – they are either too easy for some students, or too hard for others because they aren’t good test takers. It’s impossible to design an effective way to test the abilities of all students.
And when I see how some teachers in my district took drastic measures because of tests, it makes me wonder if there’s a better way.
I’m not proposing that we end standardized testing. I understand that teacher and student evaluations are both necessary evils. But do we really need to take this many tests? AP exams, graduation tests, Milestones, and SLOs altogether seem incredibly excessive, so why don’t we remove a few or at least reduce the number that students have to take?
I get it — the answer is probably no even if our schools and teachers are buckling under the pressure. And while I don’t agree with all this testing, I guess the annual tradition of weeks of writer’s cramp will continue until we can come up with something better.