Can Standardized Testing be Harmful to Students?


Willie Lopez Morales, Social Media Editor

For a long time, standardized tests have been used in schools across the country to measure their students’ abilities and intelligence. Sometimes these tests are used to determine whether students are allowed to move up to the next grade. Other times these tests are used to determine if a student needs accommodations to their learning. Overall, these tests tend to cause stress for students and often leave people questioning if they are still an effective way of assessing a students’ capabilities.


For many schools, standardized tests begin when students enter the 3rd grade. These students are between the ages of eight and nine. At this age, children are still developing various skills such as fluency in reading and basic understanding of math. They are also at a point of their lives where they are learning to be social and making friends. These students are put through 2-5 hour testing sessions where they are challenged with applying the skills they learned in the school year. For many students these tests are very intense and nerve wracking and giving these tests to students of such a young age can be damaging.  


Standardized testing is also very controversial because not everyone is good at testing. There are students who can perform greatly in their classes, but then do poorly when it comes to taking an exam. Some people struggle with the format of tests because they feel very pressured and get anxious. These tests are also structured in ways that are meant to try and trick the person who is taking the test into picking the wrong answer. It is difficult to base someone’s knowledge off of a standardized test because the test can show that they do not know what they are supposed to according to the standards, but their grades and accomplishments in their classes can demonstrate otherwise.  If a student is excelling in their classes there is no need to put them through extremely stressful circumstances to prove that they are meeting expectations or are eligible to receive their diploma at graduation. 


In sum, standardized testing should become a thing of the past. New ways of assessing students should be created to be more achievable to students of all abilities. The age in which these tests start should be raised too. Students should be able to enjoy their years in elementary school before they start being assessed. Students who are passing their classes and clearly understand the material should not have to worry about taking standardized tests and students who are not should be getting the help they need to pass instead of being told that they will not graduate. How can schools better the way they test their students and how can they provide them with the tools they need to succeed without instilling fear or anxiety?