Standardized testing: why schools should eliminate it

Standardized testing: why schools should eliminate it

What is standardized testing?

Standardized testing is a method used in schools. The purpose is to assess students. They measure the effectiveness of the education system. Also, where students stand in education. Some standardized tests have a time limit like the SAT and ACT. The use of the tests to see what students strengths and weaknesses are. In the article, published by We Are Teachers, they better explain the point of the testing. “Standardized tests are meant to give educators a chance to determine how effective their instruction strategies are. They can also help identify strengths and weaknesses in students, so these students can receive individualized attention as needed,” stated by We Are Teachers, What Is Standardized Testing.  Generally, the use of the tests in schools is to compare the academics of schools nationwide.

Why should schools eliminate standardized testing?Standardized test - Wikipedia

Standardized testing should become eliminated in schools because it brings anxiety and pressure to students. It also hurts the physical and mental health of kids.

Test anxiety

The first reason schools should remove standardized testing is because it prompts anxiety. Students are more focused on doing good on these tests than they are at actually learning. In a study written by Youki Terada, stress levels in students spike during testings. This can affect kids test scores, mental health, and brain development. “As high-stakes tests loom, cortisol levels, a chemical marker for stress, rise by an average of 15 percent, a physiological response linked to an 80-point drop in SAT scores, according to 2018 research. For students who were already experiencing hardships outside of school—poverty, neighborhood violence, or family instability, for instance—cortisol spiked by as much as 35 percent, a level that is likely to derail cognitive processes and distort test scores beyond recognition,” said Youki Terada, editor for Edutopia.

Different curriculums

Adding to the anxiety of test taking, students can get tested on topics they have not learned. Since standardized testing is so broad. This can add on to the anxiety of the tests because students want to feel prepared. But, if they never learned it, that isn’t possible.

 “Parents, students and public education advocates have been telling policymakers for years about the many problems with excessive high-stakes standardized testing, including narrowed curriculum and evaluation systems that assessed teachers on the scores of students they didn’t have,” said Valerie Strauss, staff writer for the Washington post.


Along with anxiety levels being up, many students do not perform well under pressure. Even if the students know the material, test anxiety can make students overthink. Colleges use SATS and ACTS. This causes worries about their future. They focus on this more than actually comprehending the information taught. This hurts students in the long run. Since the evaluation determines their future jobs and salaries.

“There’s so much pressure to do well on these tests that kids can feel like it’s a life-or-death situation. Their anxiety goes through the roof, and even those who know the material thoroughly may not perform well under the pressure. And more and more districts evaluate teachers based at least in part on student test scores. This can affect their salaries and chances for advancement,” according to We Are Teachers.

Mental and physical health

Finally, standardized testing takes a toll on mental and physical health of students. Studying for large amounts of time without getting much sleep can lead to poor mental health. Especially if these students work hard only to crack under pressure and not do well on the test. Even after staying up and studying for hours. 

 “Trying to fall asleep at night, they fretted about whether they’d get into a good college, worried about landing a job that paid well, and feared they’d disappoint their parents. Without breaks, high-stakes tests can cause a host of cascading problems, Hamilton continued, including increased anxiety levels, overconsumption of caffeine, smoking, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and poor sleep quality.” stated Youki Terada.

What are alternatives to standardized testing?

To get rid of standardized testing, we can introduce alternatives to standardized testing. Things such as research projects, case study analysis’, and reports. These are different ways to gauge progress in students. Standardized Testing is a big deal in the American Education system. But, is it beneficial at all?

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