Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'm Against Standardized Testing

Today the juniors at my high school had the lovely privilege of taking the ACT, giving the rest of us the day off.  Of course, I went to the school anyway to work on some chapter display, plus college classes stop for no one.

But you know, instead of talking about the crazy snowstorm that happened this morning, I'm actually going to complain about what the juniors had to go through this day.

Yes, I am against standardized testing.  I got a good score on the ACT and that lead to a scholarship, so I have every reason to love the test.  Right?  Wrong.  I think that the ACT is a horrible thing because you can't test how "smart" someone is with a single assessment.

Maybe it is the future CTE teacher in me talking.  You could be an absolute genius in any area of CTE, but maybe you aren't so sharp when it comes to academic subjects.  Well, you go and take the ACT, get a low score, and away flies all of your college hopes and dreams.  A test that only tests four different subjects can hardly account for all of the different kinds of "smarts" there are, and I think it is ridiculous that nobody sees how obvious that is.  I saw a quote somewhere that said something like, "standardized tests are for standardized minds", which I thought was a perfect way to put it.  Standardized tests only give glowing scores to the people who are the typical standard of what a "smart" kid is, but what about the kids who shine in other areas?  Areas that aren't tested?

Also, the ACT doesn't test your intelligence.  It tests how good you are at taking exams.  Have test anxiety?  Too bad for you.  Can't read 3859 words per minute?  You must be horrible at reading comprehension.  It is common knowledge that for the ACT, you shouldn't study content - you should study strategy.  How to get a good score even if you don't know exactly what is going on.  I think that there is definitely something wrong there.

What is my solution to this?  Well I don't know about a solution, but my conclusion is that standardized test scores should not be huge factors when it comes to the success of students, because they do not give accurate representations of what they are capable of.  "Smart" is such a relative term, and the thing is, it should stay relative.  You can't say that William Shakespeare is a genius but Sigmund Freud isn't because he's not exceptional in the same subjects.

So that's all.  Good luck on all your standardized testing, my friends, because unfortunately it is a big part of getting into colleges and whatnot.  But don't even feel bad if you get a crappy score, because it is a messed up system.

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