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Standardized troubles: Tests packed with flaws

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PARCC. AP. SAT. ACT. NJSLA.

Anything else?

Standardized testing has dominated the past two months at WHS as students have taken a number of strenuous exams, ranging from state-required English, math and science exams to college-prep tests lasting more than three hours. These tests have even crept close to finals week, as the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment for Science puts every 11th-grader behind a computer for five hours during the two days after Memorial Day weekend.

With these tests taking up so many hours, the question arises: Is this endless, exhausting, arguably unnecessary testing even worth it?

“It’s definitely a waste of time,” said junior Coco Herz—a popular feeling to say the least. WHS students and teachers seem to agree that standardized testing is detrimental to students’ learning experience.

“There is too much testing going on and we are losing class time,” said Biology Teacher Mr. Robert Brewster. According to a report conducted by the American Federation of Teachers, some school districts spend as many as 110 hours on test preparation. This does

These tests have become assessments of one’s ability to manage time and stress, rather than their knowledge and understanding of different subjects.”

ot include the hours of preparation that students dedicate independently, preparing for the SAT, ACT or AP exams.

Many students and teachers find that PARCC testing disrupts class instruction and hinders teachers’ abilities to effectively teach their classes. Instead of testing, students should be learning, especially because the tests that students are forced to take do not count toward their GPAs.

This raises the question of whether statewide standardized testing is a worthwhile assessment of students’ knowledge. A number of students who took the PARCC even admitted to rushing through questions without putting effort into their answers.

“If it doesn’t count, then what is the incentive to do well?” Brewster asked. Whether it is the biology exam or the PARCC exam, scores that mean little to an individual student’s academic status make the test a complete waste of time.

On the other hand, SAT and ACT tests directly affect students when it comes to college acceptance. But do these tests accurately reflect a student’s academic ability?

“I know a lot of people who scored high on the SATs but have low GPAs, or vice-versa,” said sophomore Sophia Powell. Standardized tests are only assessing one’s test-taking skills, as learning how to manipulate the test is a large part of the preparation process. With time constraints and deceptively-worded questions, these tests have become assessments of one’s ability to manage time and stress, rather than their knowledge and understanding of different subjects.

“Standardized tests put a lot of pressure on you and some people don’t operate well under the pressure,” said junior Sophie Hendricks. To say that standardized assessments accurately represent knowledge is unfair, seeing as all students perform differently while under testing conditions.

Regardless of how well you do on these tests, they are not a sign of where your life is headed. They are simply extraneous formalities that hold little value in determining one’s overall success.

“I don’t think the SAT or ACT prepare you for the real world and what you are going to do beyond high school,” said senior Allison Mattessich. “You can do well on the test, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to do well in your profession or later in life.”

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