Standardized tests: a necessary evil

Standardized tests: a necessary evil

Perla Lara

Standardized tests are the fastest, easiest way to qualify and quantify results and see who understands a subject like literature and who may need guidance in understanding it.

No one takes a standardized test because they like to, they are taken because they are required. If you apply to a university you are required to take the SAT or ACT and other standardized tests.

Standardized tests should be a tool to improve your learning experience and have your learning tailored to your specific needs.

Even though standardized tests are just a way for the state to produce statistics on schools and give an inaccurate view of the test takers capacity, test takers need them to gain access to important opportunities.

Standardized tests are required to find your level of comprehension on a subject and compare you to your peers. They are used to determine things like getting into an advanced-placement class, opting out of a dreaded math class, proving your English proficiency or getting a job.

Knowing that you are being compared to others, that you are being evaluated, and that your whole future will depend on how well you respond to a number of questions causes pressure and stress and, in some cases, vomiting.

However, we do need a simple and efficient way to separate those who have skills and knowledge from those that don’t.

Teachers spend class time teaching how to take a test instead of teaching the subject the test is on. The standardized test industry not only makes money on the test it sells, but also by selling books about how to prepare for the test.

We need to make improvements to the test and not just improve the test takers ability to take the test.

Now we have the technology to take tests via computer software, iPad apps or via an online service and get the results back instantly. Looking at how prevalent standardized tests are and how technology continues to make its implementation easier, we should not be looking at how to avoid them but how to make them work.