🗣 Finding Our Student Voice 🗣 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding Student Life
Many of my classes have started to double down on the all dreaded test preparation at this point in the semester. Specifically, in my AP classes, we have begun training on how to pass the big test at...
the end of the year (which determines if we get the college credit for the course but does not impact our final grade in the class). I have my own issues with College Board, but I think that standardized testing as a whole is highly problematic, and I’m going to break it down.
First and foremost, it takes all the joy out of learning. I have always enjoyed learning new things, even in school, but as soon as we start doing practice tests or busywork, I lose all interest. In addition to this, it requires no creativity and is not mentally stimulating at all. Test preparation is only helping us gain short-term recollection of subject matter, regurgitated into a few measly assignments, only to be completely forgotten after the assessment itself. It leaves no lasting fundamental impression on students and does not utilize or promote critical thinking skills. Learning is a dynamic process, and it should always build off of itself, and standardized testing can not portray this or the differences in each student's learning style.
Standardized testing forces all students in the same restrictive box to assess their learning. Not every student is a good test taker and can’t be expected to perform at the same level as others. Because of this, standardized testing does not accurately represent intelligence, knowledge, or “readiness for college” (as the ACT and SAT claim).
In my AP English Literature and Composition class, I am especially annoyed by the format of the final AP test. It involves three essays and one long multiple-choice section, which is manageable, but it has taken over our curriculum. Literature, in any form, is subjective, and the relevance should be different to each reader. However, the AP test forces strict and rigid meanings onto pieces of literature and takes the beauty out of language. As someone who has always enjoyed reading (whether it be short stories, novels, poetry, you name it), this limits how I can interpret each type of literature and can make reading entirely unenjoyable.
I know how normalized testing is, and I know that it is inevitable. Still, standardized tests, whether outside the classroom curriculum, like the ACT or SAT, or ones that shape curriculum, like AP, TCAP, or EOC (End of Course Exams regulated by the Tennessee Department of Education), are absolutely problematic and unnecessary. I will begrudgingly continue preparing for these tests, though, because, despite my complaints, I still want to do well in my classes and pass those tests.