I Am More than a Test Score

I Am More than a Test Score

You stare at your screen blankly in confusion. Looking around the room, the people near you seem to be answering their questions quickly. Seeing your peers fly by the questions with almost no effort makes you feel frustrated and anxious you aren’t going to do well. No matter who you are you’ve taken a standardized test at some point in your life. If you’re anything like me testing is a source of stress and anxiety. Although it’s important to make sure that students are learning and making progress in school, I think there’s too much pressure about getting a good score because it’s going to represent how smart you are. For students who don’t test well or have trouble displaying their understanding, it’s difficult to get a low score because you feel it defines you and what you’re capable of. Personally, I struggle with writing portions of tests. I get so nervous because I want to do well that my mind blanks and I’m unable to write anything that properly reflects my understanding of the subject. At West High School students recently had ISASP testing, a testing program designed by Iowa to assess a student’s learning and progress. I know firsthand from talking to other students and hearing the buzz around school, that ISASP testing was a stressful couple of days for a lot of students who wanted to do well on the tests.

Along with the overall stress that comes with testing, I think there’s a lot of disparities when it comes to the actual tests themselves. For example, some students do really well on multiple-choice questions but might not do as well with writing and comprehension questions and vice-versa. Another issue with standardized testing is that they only test on main subjects like math, science, and English. While these are important to make sure a student understands, some students excel in other subjects such as art or history and they aren’t able to demonstrate their knowledge in those areas. Standardized tests also don’t take into account all students. If a student who struggles with reading is taking the same test as everyone else, they’re less likely to get as good of a score.
To see if other students felt the same way as me, that standardized testing is a source of stress and anxiety and isn’t an accurate picture of a student’s knowledge, I sent out a survey asking a series of questions surrounding the subject of standardized testing.

Not surprisingly, a majority of the responses saw standardized tests as a negative thing. Out of 83 students who responded to my survey, 70 of them

feel that standardized tests don’t show an accurate representation of a students knowledge”

Another 68 chose that it’s not fair to base a student’s knowledge on a standardized test. Although a lot of students feel the same way, most struggled to come up with a better solution to taking standardized tests, only knowing that they’re unfair. The students who did have a solution to standardized testing offered using projects as a way to test students for their understanding and progress. The only issue is that even if we did want to change how we test students, there’s no clear path to which way is the best.