Staff and students think that standardized testing puts too much pressure on students


Credit: Gracie Goschke

Students in James Bellwares Career and College Readiness do a worksheet to learn about different organizations they can join after highschool. They looked at the National Guard, Peace Corps, and Teach for America.

Leah Sparks, Guest Writer

It’s a normal Wednesday at Loy Norrix, except for the fact that students are taking the English portion of the Horizon standardized test in math class. 

A survey done by the Council of the Great City Schools featured in the Washington Post showed that the typical sophomore takes an average of 10.5 standardized tests during their 10th grade year. 

Sophomore Leland Wagner feels that taking these tests can contribute to comparing students based on who does the best and that this can have a negative effect on students for a lifetime. 

“Standardized testing can create a very competitive environment in schools because people like to compare and contrast everybody’s everything,” Wagner said. “People are very different and can’t always be based off of their testing scores. It’s not fair to all the students.”

Loy Norrix teacher James Johnson thinks that standardized testing can be limiting to the way students learn and also the way teachers teach the material. 

“I think it puts a lot of pressure on students, and it gives the impression that there’s like one right answer for things instead of teaching students how to think and how to evaluate different info that might all be correct. It gives students the impression that the end goal is like a score on an exam where there is one right answer,” continued Johnson. 

“It also puts pressure on teachers to plan to help students prepare for those tests. There’s a phrase like ‘teach to the test’ and so that means that I’m more limited in what I’m teaching you,” Johnson said. 

Sophomore Isabella Johnson is very worried about taking the SAT in her junior year. She feels that making one test determine your whole future is very unfair and puts too much pressure on people. 

“A test can only show so much because it’s only one test,” said Johnson. “One test cannot show all of your knowledge. It was just one day with one test that you were probably really stressed about.”

Senior Connor Rafferty is grateful that colleges and universities use SAT and ACT scores less in the application process. He thinks that they aren’t very important in the span of a student’s life and life after school. 

“Really the only thing that should matter in the application process is your transcript because it shows how you did in high school. One day of testing is a snippet of your high school life whereas your transcript shows everything,” said Rafferty. 

According to a 2016 report by Harvard Graduate School of Education student Christina Simpson, “Standardized testing may even correlate to self-deprecation and may also be one of the primary factors of mental health struggles.” 

High school students spend anywhere from 10 to 25 hours taking standardized tests, and this time spent is taking a major toll on their mental health. 

Sophomore Nahir Ortega thinks that we could be working on other projects or learning something else. 

“I would prefer not to spend all my time testing. We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time,” said Ortega. 

Spending your high school career testing can push someone away from fulfilling their dreams. Many students feel that standardized testing can make them feel like less of a person than they are because of their disappointing scores. 

Changes could be made to the Michigan requirements on standardized testing. Schools need to help build students’ self-esteem instead of slowly degrading their mental health by taking these standardized tests.