Standardized Testing Has to Go: Here's Why

When the pandemic hit, everything changed. Though we all may be thinking it’s for the worst, it’s better for some things. The thing is, the stuff that changed for the better, we probably won’t realize until later. But already, some positive things are coming through such as less hectic workdays, and more people seem to be prioritizing family and exercising. Here’s one big thing that’s probably going to majorly change though: standardized testing and how we get into college, law school, grad school, etc. Recently, USC and other big-name schools have made the decision that they will be eradicating the SAT and other forms of standardized testing for admissions. I think that the gradual end of standardized testing is going to be a good thing for our society.

The big issue with standardized testing is that it’s simply a number, a one dimensional, black and white formula that’s designed to test our intelligence. However, humans are not one dimensional, and neither are our brains. What I mean by this, is that not everyone’s brain is the same, and not everyone is a good test taker. Some people might be better at doing a project or writing an essay. It’s unfair to judge someone’s future based on one test they took. Most of the time, standardized tests are about knowing how exactly to take the test, rather than the actual information on the test. 

Second, from a teacher’s perspective, this puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on teachers to teach a certain way and obtain certain scores in standardized testing areas. For example, my dad is a teacher, and he often feels heavily pressured around state testing time to make sure students get certain scores. He feels it limits his creativity in teaching. Also, since not everyone learns the same, it’s really not fair to judge a teacher who can not control how a student might digest information and how their brains function for tests. It’s really not a good indicator of a teacher’s performance. 

When I first read about the news that many colleges were opting out of standardized testing now, at first I, of course, thought “Gee I wish that happened for me my senior year!” But then, I felt happy, because progress was being made. Throughout middle school and high school, I was a horrible test taker. I never did well on state tests, and it made me feel terrible about myself. People were shocked when I told them I had bad test scores because I had high grades, was in the top 10 of my class and was in the national honor society. When it came time for the SAT’s, I had so much anxiety and didn’t even know where to begin when preparing. But in the end, most of the schools that accepted me were schools that were impressed with my high grades, leadership skills, and my personal essay. It was my work ethic that mattered in the end, not one day of taking a test. I’m now very happy about this progress because I hope that soon enough, no one will ever have to feel like I did and question their self-worth.