To test is to take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of something especially before putting it into widespread use or practice. For 12-year-old-student Karla Serrano, a student who has been taking state tests for a quite a while, describes tests as “sickening, draining, and scary.”
Regardless of her age, Karla takes extreme measures when it comes to preparing for a school test, to the point that it worries her parents. I decided to interview her in order to comprehend how a straight A student’s mindset functions during testing season.
I began by asking, “What’s your opinion on tests?” to which she openly explained that although tests aren’t her favorite thing in the world, she’s still forced to take them in order to succeed in her school. I empathized with Karla, knowing well that, as students, we are accountable for our education, which is why parents often push their children to not only take these tests, but exceed in them.
I then asked, “How does testing make you feel?”
She replied, “I have actually had a horrific experience in the past last year during a state test. I threw up the morning of testing all over my breakfast. But that whole week in general was a nightmare, it was mostly reviewing worksheets that my teacher had given us in order to receive a high score in the test, and no matter how much I told myself that I’d be okay and that I’d get a good score, I still got nightmares every night on ruining my career in the future just by failing these tests.”
While Karla’s experience with state tests certainly is unfortunate, it’s sadly a grim reality for many students pressured by state tests. It’s saddening to know that every test you take builds your profile as a student; you are categorized and now seen as a statistic. My conversation with Karla caused me to think deeply on how this testing season is hurting students all around the world. Not only do students have to focus on their education, but they also have to worry about knowing what answer to bubble in correctly.
There are generally two prominent perspectives in the debate about whether standardized testing is a service to students. Advocates see it as a valuable indicator in a student’s retainment of knowledge, while opponents see it as an insufficient display of a student’s abilities, adding further unnecessary stress on them.
Ultimately, it is up to you on how much you value a test. Yet, for students like Karla, who is at an age where she should be exploring and learning new things, testing has undoubtedly affected her childhood, and not in a positive way.
—by Jeanette Jasmin Hernandez