Testing Trauma

Scantrons+such+as+this+one+are+commonplace+materials+students+use+during+standardized+testing.+Photo+by+Nicholas+Alvarez.

Scantrons such as this one are commonplace materials students use during standardized testing. Photo by Nicholas Alvarez.

If you ask a teacher what they think of standardized testing, they will most likely respond with the generic “We have them for a reason.” But can the reasons that are there outweigh the effects it has on students and staff?

Teachers are looked at as good or bad based on standardized test scores when really the tests are just a one-day snapshot of how students do in the classroom. So in turn, teachers end up teaching only enough to pass the test as opposed to teaching things such as creativity or social and cross-cultural interaction.

Other faculty members are also having a disruption in their normal schedule because of standardized tests such as school counselors who assist with the organization and distribution of materials. They also may have to administer tests, removing them from tasks such as counseling students, meeting with parents, and monitoring the graduation rates.

Tests compare students to one another, and this causes stress and anxiety among students. Researchers suggest that the stress of tests may cause younger students to cry, throw tantrums and even experience nausea and vomiting while older students may skip class and rebel because of test stress.

Faculty and staff insist that tests are there for good purposes, but is it all really worth it? Students like me can’t get any sleep in the days before standardized tests because it is a nonstop worry knowing that not only our future education but the jobs of teachers are on the line, and it’s all on our shoulders. Students’ knowledge and self-worth cannot be measured in numbers.