Do Standardized Tests Accurately Measure A Student’s Abilities?

CENTRAL STUDENTS REQUIRED TO TAKE THE PRACTICE ACT-- Students reported to their testing rooms to do their best on the ACT practice!

Alyssa Rosenzweig

CENTRAL STUDENTS REQUIRED TO TAKE THE PRACTICE ACT– Students reported to their testing rooms to do their best on the ACT practice!

Alyssa Rosenzweig, Managing Editor

Standardized tests and state exams are designed to measure a student at an educational level. They are increasingly being used to judge how states, counties, and schools individually are doing performance-wise. However, a recent mandatory practice ACT that was taken among Central students has introduced the question, how well do these standardized tests measure what an individual is capable of?

An article was written regarding the topic: “What Do Test Scores Tell Us?” by Gary Gutting. “Tests used to be just for evaluating students, but now the testing of students is used to evaluate teachers and, in fact, the entire educational system. On an individual level, some students and parents have noticed a change — more standardized tests and more classroom and homework time devoted to preparation for them,” Gutting stated.

Other arguments stated that “Teaching to a test is destroying our society.” Parents across the country are angered by the stress and weight that standardized tests drop on their children’s shoulders. They are frustrated that the number of those tests are increasing by the year due to the Common Core standards in more than 40 states. These frustrations were previously voiced in murmurs, but parents and students are now joining together to question the effectiveness of these tests.

Many students who walk the halls of Central, believe that standardized tests should not play a role in determining an individual’s abilities. Others strongly believe that the tests are fair and reasonable.

“If we had a test on just basic concepts, maybe at the beginning of each grade to see where a student is, we could branch off from there and students could do things based on their abilities…Students learn at different paces. Some students may be advanced and some may be struggling,” Daejanae Williams, a senior, shared.

People who create standardized tests are incredibly intelligent and talented. Despite contrary belief, the test creators do not purposefully try to stress out students. They’re main goal is to create assessment tools that permit individuals to make an inference about the skills that a given student possesses in a specific content area. They then compare those students’ relative knowledge and test scores with a national sample of other students near or at the same grade level.

However, many students see alternatives to what they have been doing since they’ve been in school and have thought of different reasons why these tests should be not as prominent in our education system.

“Some tests are important to show where a student is, but they shouldn’t be made the entire curriculum; they’re just teaching students how to memorize things,”  Williams expressed.

For several important reasons, standardized achievement tests should not be used to judge the quality of education. These types of tests should not be used to evaluate educational success because they create meaningless comparisons among students from a small variety of skills.

Central High School and the Central Digest wish all of those taking the ACT, or any other standardized tests, the best of luck and encourage every student to try their best.