Standardized testing should not be a determining factor of academic success

In many schools, standardized testing is a prevalent evaluation of a student’s abilities. Encompassing English, Science, History, Math, and cognitive tests, standardized testing focuses on many different aspects of a student’s potential academic knowledge.

McNicholas uses a few different forms of standardized testing for evaluations, including the most common IOWAs and MAP testing. IOWA testing is necessary for students to graduate.

“IOWA testing is required by the state of Ohio for graduation… it’s really to see if students are hitting those benchmarks of Ohio standards,” English Department Chair and Teacher Mrs. Angie Noble said.

MAP testing is not mandatory and chosen by the school to be used. It gives teachers another way of assessing the levels of   student’s Math and English understanding.

“We give MAP testing as a way to help teachers in both English and Math to have data on their students that will then will help us tailor lessons to more individualize instruction for students based on certain skills,” Noble said.

Although these scores can be effective and beneficial to help teachers adjust their teaching methods, many students see standardized testing in a negative way.

In a recent Milestone survey, 59% of students noted that they were against standardized testing.  Of this survey, 61% of students strongly agreed and another 30% agreed that testing implements unnecessary stress on themselves and other students.

Among the recent Milestone survey, no students disagreed that standardized testing gave them extra stress. This displays that all students experience some mild-severe stress when faced with standardized testing.

Some students also felt that they face disadvantages with standardized testing. Students’ test-taking abilities vary; some are naturally gifted at it while others aren’t.

“Standardized testing shouldn’t matter more than grades because some students manage to get good grades even when it doesn’t come naturally to them. They just put in a lot of work. Standardized testing makes it easier for the naturally gifted students to succeed,” sophomore Carson Schisler said.

Sophomore Kenzie Dehner also agreed that some students are naturally gifted test takers, resulting in inaccurate representations of a student’s true academic abilities.

67% of students either disagreed or strongly disagreed when asked if testing accurately represents their abilities.

Students who excel in the classroom also face difficulties with standardized testing. Low test scores have become barriers for students to participate in activities that would advance their learning. For example, students who don’t score high enough on the HSPT (High School Placement Test), are unable to join the St. Joseph Scholars program at McNicholas.  

“I’m a gifted student, I’ve been on Dean’s List throughout every quarter I’ve been in high school, yet I’ve missed out on multiple opportunities in the school because I happen to struggle with standardized testing,” junior Reagan Lisch said.

If standardized testing was limited or came to an end, students would be able to attend school with one less stressor. It would also allow teachers to focus on their instruction rather than testing. School serves as a place for students to learn, but too much testing restricts the amount of time students receive instruction.

“I would rather spend my time with them showing me their thinking through a project or, you know, some activity that we’re doing in class, or discussion, rather than them sitting, staring at words on a paper and taking a test,” Noble said.

Students spend three bells a year in both their English and Math classes to take MAP testing and use one day a year for IOWA and/or other forms of practice testing.

The HSPT has also been a determinant as to whether a student gets into a desired school or class placement. This places extra stress on students to succeed.

“No human can be measured by one test,” sophomore James Tribble said.

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