Guest Writer Lily Graham
The alarm goes off on the first day of school, for most second graders this means a year of new classmates, exciting subjects and another year closer to being a “big kid.” For most 9th graders the school year entails being ridiculed by upperclassman, more homework, and the PSATs.
Kids and teens should enjoy learning instead of dreading the mundane lessons preparing students for standardized testing. Should learning new things become routine, only a little while after you are old enough to comprehend more interesting and complicated topics?
As students inch towards graduation, interest in learning continues to diminish, and with the loss of drive to learn more, comes more absences, tardies, and students failing classes. While students get older, interesting classes with unique lessons plans turn into scripted lectures teaching the same principles and carefully selected topics. These will allow students to score higher on standardized tests and graduate high school, therefore reflecting positively on the district, eliminating the threat of closure by the state.
“They [teachers] teach the information that allows you [students] to pass and make the teacher(s) look good,” said Loy Norrix freshman Kate DeYoung.
Students do not learn about the history of our community, or assembling a career plan, but are fed the same information about the Holocaust, instead of tackling current issues and events.
Teachers that used to come up with inspirational lesson plans are now being forced to conform to the district guidelines in order to prepare students for standardized testing. In very few cases will a student need to learn about how to identify the organelles of an animal cell in the work world. However, students are never taught to fill out job applications or balance a checkbook.
The success of individual students is no longer as important as the entire district, which is decided by the scores students receive on state-mandated exams like the M-STEP and the SAT.
Although most students are against these types of lessons some are grateful for the standardized testing prep, allowing them a better chance of getting into a good college.
According to the New York Times poll taken in October of 2014, 65.9 percent of all high school graduates in the United States continued on directly to college after graduation, while the remaining 34.1 percent choose to take some time before getting their degrees, or made the decision not to continue on to college, for a various number of reasons.
Though attending a university following high school is the ideal plan administrators have for students, those who choose to immediately join the workforce should be informed how to do so properly.
In elementary school, standardized testing was practice for scary high school exams, therefore the subjects covered in classes dealt with more important issues such as social justice issues, using your moral compass and setting goals for the future.
These subjects are not going to boost tests scores, but the life lessons students learn are more valuable than any other subject.
It is extremely unfair that the future success of the students is being compromised by schools because of their insecurities about scores the students get on exams meeting the expectations of the state.