Editor: Many students here in Virginia can agree that standardized testing is a waste of our time. When we are studying a topic in a class, we usually just memorize the information for the test. After that we just forget it. But then, every May we need to go back and review everything for the SOL’s.
Standardized testing is nothing new to many students in the United States. We spend all year in class learning everything we need to know to pass, and then go sit at a computer for hours, answer some questions, and anxiously wait for our scores. Then we repeat the same process again the next year without ever using the knowledge that we needed to remember the year prior. What is this teaching us? With the rise of technology being used in many careers, we won’t need to know how to do many of the things being taught in classrooms today.
According to Brookings, “On the mathematics literacy section, the U.S. even notched its lowest score to date at 470. “ This statement shows clear evidence that these standardized tests are not helping students learn, and are even making learning harder for students. They are not retaining information and are only memorizing it to pass the test. Also, the rise of technology and creativity being used in careers, KM Perform said, “[during] the 2009-2010 year for example, only 3% of schools allocated funds for dance, and only 4% offered theatre opportunities.” Art, CTE, and science are ways for many students to express their creativity. Creativity and being able to come up with new and inventive ideas are skills that employers will most likely be looking for in workers once we graduate. With the main focus on math and English, students aren’t able to learn these skills.
Standardized testing also gives disadvantages to many students. When we take the test, there are at least a handful of students that don’t pass. This requires teachers to “teach to the test.” For those students who don’t fully understand the material, for them to really learn it, the pressure to get through everything on the test must stop. This would allow for teachers to take their time and help the students that need it and not hold everyone back.
In order to reform standardized testing, we are going to need to get our government involved. Writing or e-mailing on of our representatives in either the General Assembly or VA Senate can help get the word across. We are going to need to start the conversation if any change is going to be done.
In today’s world, education is the foundation for your future. School is a time to discover who you are, and find what you like to do. School is for learning, not for competition. That is why I believe that we need to change the way we teach and find a better solution.
Grayson Donohoe, Harmony Middle School