Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: Standardized Tests should not measure students’ abilities

As high school comes to an end, the process of applying to college begins. And in order to apply to most colleges, there is one requisite all students must complete: take and report standardized test scores.

As a high school senior, I have taken my fair share of standardized tests throughout my K-12 education. However, it wasn’t until I reached high school that I realized just how critical test scores are. They determine what classes will be your best fit and even which college you’re most likely to get into.

Given how heavily these tests are weighed, one would think that students are tested on challenging material covered in school. Perhaps that would explain why some students do poorly. However, many students (myself included) don’t believe tests such as the

ACT to be challenging because of the content, but rather because of the testing conditions. You are given limited time to complete all questions, which certainly adds pressure to the situation. Not only must you do well, but you must also do it within the confined time.

So the goal for students is obvious: do well within the allotted time. As students strive to do well, they realize that various resources are available to improve their test scores. Prep books published by companies such as Kaplan and Princeton Review claim to prepare you for such exams, but upon opening these guides, I found that the first chapters were dedicated to help students hone their test taking skills. Although helpful tips were given, I was expecting more help to be given on the material itself. It seemed that students were being prepared to think a certain way rather than truly learning anything.

Thus, although standardized tests do say a lot about a student’s test taking capabilities, not much else is encompassed with a score. These scores should be taken with a grain of salt and not be used to deem a student’s potential for future success.