Standardized testing: the thief of individuality

Juniors chose to opt out of standardized testing

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Bluestocking

2020 and 2021 standardized tests have been optional giving many students the chance to finally opt out.

Throughout the educational process, students face many forms of standardized testing such as the smarter balance test, oaks test, the SAT, and a few others. One such standardized test, the SBAC, takes place in junior year and for many years has been a requirement for graduation. Many schools have decided to make these tests optional in the past two years in the midst of the pandemic so students do not have to worry about a test on top of all the other stresses of education in a pandemic. 

This year in particular, most juniors have taken this opportunity to opt out of the test set to take place May 19th. In addition to dealing with standardized testing during this fast paced year, students have other qualms with standardized testing. There are many reasons for students to opt out of the SBAC and few reasons to actually take it. 

Junior Ellie Wettstein is one of the many students choosing not to take part in the exam. Wettstein feels that, “Since there was an option to opt out I didn’t feel like it would be necessary to take it.” Most of her peers had the same reasoning and almost unanimously agreed to opt out. 

Standardized testing has always been an unnecessary burden that takes away from class time and structured learning that caters to each student individually so the chance to skip this exam is a small relief. These past couple years of opting out of tests begs the question of if standardized testing is advantageous in any way.

Wettstein explains, “I don’t see any benefits to taking it as I have not gained anything from these tests in the past and I don’t know anyone who feels like these tests have helped them to learn or grow.” For many students, this test is merely another stress of junior year that does not fully represent their learning or abilities. 

Standardized tests do not help students develop any skills and also hardly demonstrate the skills each student has. Wettstein describes that, “Standardized testing only caters to one style of learning. Many people can be great students and learners but they are terrible test takers because they have a different style of comprehension and learning.”

standardized testing only caters to one style of learning. many people can be great students and learners but they are terrible test takers because they have a different style of comprehension and learning”

— Ellie Wettstein

Overall, throughout the pandemic, schools have learned the value or lack thereof of  certain traditions and hopefully will consider these lessons in the future.