Standardized testing discourages creativity, creates stress

by ALEX PEREZ//Feature Editor

High school in 2016 is the equivalent of a junior college that strips away self-identity for students.

I’m sure when people talk about the dreaded AP test, current and former high school students wince at the words. Memories of endless notecards, endless study guides and shoving your head into a book about how to study in order to actually study for the exam flood the brain like a dark cloud in a thunder storm.

A majority of us have been through the trials of the AP test and SAT/ ACT. Students continuously rack their brains and take copious amounts of practice tests to get a fair shot at passing these assessments to decide where they will be going to college. High school students drink their entire body weight in coffee in the few weeks leading up to finals and AP tests to push themselves past their limits in hopes of getting a high score. All of this stress crush students and burns them out before they even enter college.

We all know this story well, and it is not so dear to our hearts. Standardized tests have been with us since elementary school, and were a terrible companion throughout our adolescent years. Administrations force these tests on students in order to measure their skills and test what they have learned throughout the course of the year. But what it all comes down to is that these administrators are just stupid people thinking that they can actually test millions of students with just one single test to academically judge them based on their score. Not only are the learning abilities of students different, but the way their teachers teach the information is completely different. There is not a pair of teachers in the United States who teach the exact same way. For the people developing these standardized tests to just overlook that fact is beyond me. It is virtually impossible to accurately test students on their knowledge with just one test that their teachers spend maybe six weeks preparing them for.

The entire year consists of the majority of what the teacher thinks is important for the students to know, and then a sliver of time to cover what the administrators want the kids to be tested on.

With this kind of time crunch, it creates a mental burden on the students, which forces them to push themselves to levels of stress that should never exist in a high school student’s life. I remember being on the verge of a mental breakdown almost every other week during my senior year, due to the SAT and other AP tests I was planning to take. That left no room for me to enjoy my senior year and try to find myself and begin to look for what I wanted to do in college.  These standardized tests create such stress that students often forget who they are in the midst of studying for who they should be according to their parents or teachers.

Standardized testing has created a roadblock for students, starting in elementary school, which stunts their creative ability to think for themselves and not just about studying or associating themselves with a certain score. No child should have to undergo so much stress for a test that will tell them that they failed because they did not learn the same way as other kids, thus making them feel irrelevant to society and creating self-judgment based upon the accomplishments or failure of their peers.

Administrators should leave standardized testing alone and allow teachers to individually test their students on their growth and intellectual ability, allowing the student to be free from the stress and the shackles on creativity.

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