Tackling the Standardized Test

download (1)By Amanda Szramiak — I’m one of many students who never liked standardized tests.

Not only have I never liked them (I equate them to torture), but also I have never been good at them.

In grade school, we had TerraNova tests and assessments. I was always scoring “average” on them, and I never knew why.

After a confidence-destroying experience taking the ACT’s in high school, I was fortunate enough to be able able to get tutoring to improve my scores. But, I really hoped that, after I got into college, I would never be personally afflicted by a standardized test again.

Wrong.

The Praxis I was a lot more difficult than I thought, and it took three times for me to pass the math portion. It pains me to think about the other licensure tests I will have to take as I grow in my career. However, I think the testing I will have to endure as an educator will be beneficial and relevant opposed to the random number I received determining my knowledge.

Last week in m education course, we discussed the layers of annual testing, which are college admission testing, district-wide testing, statewide testing, national assessment, and international assessment. I already feel guilty for having to administer these tests to my future students. We also watched a Ted Talk by Bob Sternberg, who is a leading psychologist and shares the same opinions as me on standardizing testing. In the Ted Talk, Mr. Sternberg explained that his grade school teachers thought he was dumb; therefore, he thought he was dumb. His confidence level became nonexistent, and I think too many students, including myself, can relate to this feeling. Mr. Sternberg also explained that his introductory psychology course professor told him to change his major because he would never be a psychologist because of his intelligence levels.

I hope that as time goes on, the insane pressure surrounding standardized tests diminishes. There are too many stories like Mr. Sternberg’s that emphasize the negative impact a standardized score can have on a student. Mr. Sternberg has created different intelligence tests that measure students’ creativity levels, which are to be considered in college admission applications. It is imperative to include creative thinking into standardizing testing. Teachers and policy makers should always want to increase their students’ confidence, not diminish it. Although standardized tests will probably never be obsolete, I look forward to having creative assessments for students as well as seeing a change in the classification of students’ knowledge.

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