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Standardized Tests

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Standardized Tests Are Killing Society
Alyssa Masula
Jonathan Alder High School




This essay provides an exploration of the harm done to individuals and societies by standardized testing. In her studies, the author discovered mixed results, containing both support and rejection for her original hypothesis. She includes evidence to prove her point true. She provides information gathered from various sources including published works and studies by Peter
Sacks, Nicholas Lemann, and Jacques Steinberg. As well as these, she has added the support of a political cartoon and an article from the distinguished newspaper “The Columbus Dispatch”.


Standardized Tests Are Killing Society
A student sits down at a desk and is given a #2 pencil, a test, and a time limit. Upon him rests the expectation that his future will will depend on the result of said test. Overwhelmed by the idea of failure and a consequential meaningless life, he cannot concentrate and has a panic attack. Too much pressure is placed on young people to succeed on tests that are supposed to be objective, yet in reality do not measure the true value of one’s education and abilities.
Such tests as the ACT and SAT contain bias despite their computer generated grading system. They tend to hold bias in favor of males due to time limits on mathematical portions.
“Evidence can also be found that speeded tests may be mismeasuring the mathematical abilities of women”(Sacks 214). Also, standardized tests scores stand in high correlation with socioeconomic class. Due to the length of the tests and the expected environment of them, they are partial to individuals who do not suffer from ADD, ADHD, or other such issues with concentration. The pressure of succeeding and achieving a high score on a standardized test can sometimes grow too much for a student to bare. Only this year, a couple weeks ago, a student took upon herself too much stress when studying for the PSAT, and exhausted herself physically and mentally. They day of the test, she sat at her table and could not focus on the task at hand and had an anxiety attack. This test served as the qualifying test for the National Merit
Scholarship, which she needed for college due to her financial situation. Her skills, abilities, and school involvement were within the top ten of her graduating class, yet she did not test well, and therefore, when the results come back for the PSAT, she may not qualify for the scholarship, even if she deserved it.


Students no longer receive an education that will prepare them for life after high school, rather one that will only prepare them for taking standardized tests. The political cartoon below illustrates one of the many issues with the prospect of standardized testing. Test taking skills, while important for achieving high scores on college qualifying tests, do not benefit students during life and careers. Schools claim to prepare students for their desired career paths; however, most students’ preferred professions do not require individuals to be able to fill in a bubble with
#2 pencil. Most professions require more skills that cannot be taught through test taking.

More colleges have lately accepted high school graduates who have not even taken the typical standardized tests. According to an article in The Columbus Dispatch, many colleges do not believe that such tests show the true educational abilities of a student. They agree that ACT,
SAT, etc. show the true value of the individual. Instead, they evaluate course grades, whether or not the student took honors courses, the student’s extracurricular involvement and other such variables. STANDARDIZED TESTS ARE KILLING SOCIETY 5

Standardized tests do not prove as vital to individual success as generally believed.
They contain bias despite the computer generated form they take. The stress of studying for said tests can prove unbearable for many students. Career paths that most students chose do not require such test taking skills. Colleges are beginning to recognise how little value standardized tests actually carry. Standardized tests are killing society.


Binkley, Collin (2014) More Ohio Colleges Letting Applicants Skip ACT, SAT.
Dispatch Retrieved:­ohio­colleges­let­applica nts­skip­act­sat.html
Lemann, Nicholas (1999)
The Big Test
Morgan,Ron (2003) [cartoon] cartoonstock Retrieved from:

l h=825&q=college+admission+cartoon+standardized&oq=college+admission+cartoon+st andardized&gs_l=img.3...2769.68920.0.70569. j8­1.31.0....0...1ac.1.64.img..26.52.8504.QAGgyTKQDzo#imgrc=_
Sacks, Peter (1999)
Standardized Minds.
United States of America
Steinberg, Jacques (2002).
The Gatekeepers
United States of America

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