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The Truth About Standardized Tests

Standardized testing pros and cons

As a current high school student in Oklahoma, I have to say that standardized tests are very important to me. I will be voting in our next presidential election, and one of the most influential factors in my decision is going to be whether the candidate supports the massive amount of testing we students receive.

Many people think these tests are bad, that they boil a student’s worth down to a single number. While these are valid arguments, I personally feel very strongly that standardized tests are a good thing.

Pretend you’re in high school, or any level of school really (I’ve heard that some schools have started administering these tests to kindergartners). Your teacher wants you to learn and grow as a person. Unfortunately for you, learning and growing as a person takes a lot of effort. Thank the Lord that someone invented the Common Core and the standardized testing system. Now, teachers don’t have time to encourage personal growth in their students. The teachers have until April to make sure their students pass a test, and the teacher’s job is on the line. All you have to do all year are worksheets and practice tests to make sure the teacher can feed his or her family (in Oklahoma teachers don’t make too much more than McDonalds employees, so they aren’t likely to have any money saved up in case too many students fail and they get fired, so around here the tests are extra important).

Keep pretending to be a student. You walk into the test room in April and the school has laptops set up for you to take the test on. You wonder vaguely if these laptops are taking away from the school’s budget- maybe they’re the reason you don’t have enough desks in your third hour… You sit down at a seat where you can see the clock. Seeing the clock is very important, as the tests start either at the beginning of the day or at lunchtime, and you’re excused from all classes until you finish, no matter how long that takes. So while the tests could easily be completed in 45 minutes, you want to time yourself so that you miss all of your boring classes but you don’t miss the fun ones.

Just sitting there waiting for the clock to tick tock can be pretty boring, but there’s a solution; the pen tool. The testing software provides you with a highlighter and a pen tool that can change color. I’d never quite understood why these tools were available until a couple of years ago, when it hit me. Some deity knew we’d want to color!

The only problem is that we can’t save our drawings for later. I would’ve loved to have shown some of my space shuttles to my old art teachers.

My only other complaint is that we haven’t yet progressed to an environment where they allow you to sleep during these exams (a friend tried it this year but a proctor woke him up, so he went back to doodling on the laptop). It’s only a matter of time, I suppose. Until then, my computer art skills can only get better.


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