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Lakewood Times

    Beyond The Scantron

    Stressed Asian student in a classroom. Shot against blackboard with formulas
    Paulus Nugroho R – Fotolia
    Stressed Asian student in a classroom. Shot against blackboard with formulas

    The average student in the United States will take approximately 112 mandated standardized tests in their 13 years of schooling, nearly nine tests–not including tests administrated by teachers for specific classes–per year.

    A sense of irony is present as the increasing amount of standardized tests and need to raise student scores is simply causing decline in performance. The pressure endured by students to pass with  satisfactory score instills an overwhelmingly amount of anxiety, ultimately lowering success. Suddenly, teens across the country are momentarily retaining information with means to pass a test rather than truly committing it  to knowledge.

    The sharpened No. 2 pencils, the extensive list of circles to bubble in “completely darkened,” eyes gazing over another page of answers to coordinate between. Love or hate them, standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT, PSAT hold high stakes in major education decision processes such as high school graduation or college acceptance.

    Unfortunately, the ‘high stakes’ are unfair to students who do not test well or do not fit the “standard” of answering the same questions, under the same conditions, with the same time restriction. Feelings of unease become present as dreams becoming suppressed and schools begin to reject simply because of a test score. According to Steve Cohen, Forbes Magazine, “schools are using SAT and ACT scores to make a fast, easy cut of the applicant pool” due to the soaring number of applications each year. The assessments will also maintain prevalence in the sense of standardized testing becoming an industry–reaped a large profit off admission tickets, expensive tutoring services, and a cycle of teens retaking the same test multiple times.

    According to Andrew Ujufusa, writer for Education Week, the cost-per-student to purchase an admission ticket for standardized tests exponentially raises each year…reaching prices of $65-$114. He asserts that, “standardizing tests is costing states $1.7 billion a year,” claiming the large sum of money could be used in bettering education in schools and raising teacher salaries.

    Simply put, standardized tests may play an instrumental role in paving roads towards goals and aspirations…but they do not play the only role. It is best to prepare for such tests with proper study habits, but to not produce anxiety if you cannot reach a “satisfactory score. Extra curricular activities, GPA, volunteer hours, and writing ability amount to equal importance in regards to graduating or being accepted into universities.  Students should neglect the habit of letting test scores deter dreams and future plans–after all, it is but a number.


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