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“Free Trip to Outer Space!”

Would you like to take a trip into outer space? To venture out into the universe and not even know which direction you are headed in?! Well that is just what you can do right after you take your ACT’s or any other standardized test.  These tests are not just graded on intelligence but more so on memory and strategy. There is no telling what grade someone can receive on these tests, so it is literally like shipping yourself aimlessly out into space because there is no knowing where you can go from there.

As many people know, standardized testing is not an appropriate way to show how smart a student is or can be.  From personal experience, when I took the ACT with my graduating class a student with a 3.8 GPA ended up getting a 24 ACT score while a student with a 2.8 GPA got a 28 score. I wondered that, if these scores are not even based upon your grades and the individual then why is this test so important for getting into colleges? This test is not fair to students because it does not take in the account of work ethic or the kind of classes they take. The student with the higher GPA could be a poor test taker and has to study really hard to achieve his or her grades while the student with the lower grades may not study at all and is lazy. This can cause less rewards for being the harder worker. I think colleges should look at the qualities of a student’s character instead of basing their decisions so heavily upon just one test.

Due to the No Child Left Behind Act, standardized tests are mandatory and have started to be taken in just the third grade. This was a thoughtful plan by George W. Bush to make sure that all students where getting the education they need. Although this was a good idea, this can also have a backfiring effect do to the many flaws within the testing. For example, one student may have very well learned his or her studies but just did not answer the questions correctly and have results showed that their education is not the best. On the other hand, a student that has not learned what they have supposed to has a 25% chance on getting questions correct because standardized tests are mainly multiple choice. Congress is under increasing pressure to change No Child Left Behind because it has failed to fulfill its purpose of raising the achievement of all students and closing the gaps among students from different backgrounds. Due to the guessing within these tests, scores can show terribly inaccurate results of what the student population is really learning.

Research has shown that high-stakes testing causes damage to individual students and education. Standardized high-stakes testing( not only the ACT’s) can be looked at as unfair to many students. Simply put, some students just are not as good of test takers as others. This could be just an individual problem or issues such as being disabled, being in a failing school, or the type of environment a student lives in such in living in a low-income family.  It is not a reasonable method for improving schools either because this can cause teachers to teach to the test and completely avoid all other information that can be equally important for a student to know. Lastly, low scores given to poor test takers can greatly lower his or her confidence in school and life as a whole which in turn could result in them dropping out.

Referring back to the title of this blog post, standardized testing I believe is similar to taking a trip out into space because the test scores can be very biased and inaccurate. If a student is taking the ACT and wanting to get into colleges, there is no telling that once they turn in that test, what score they will receive. And because these test scores are so heavily weighted today, a test score can actually dictate where a student can and cannot go to school. So literally, turning in your test and waiting for the scores back is like being out in space, not knowing where your life will be headed next.

In closing, standardized tests should not be so heavily weighted do to the negative impact it could have on a student’s or teacher’s life. No matter how smart a person could be, the scores do not necessarily show the same results. No matter how smart you are, your score can be deceiving. It’s like taking a trip to outer space; you never know where you’re going to wind up!

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Categories: Standardized Testing
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