Argumentative Essay on Standardized Testing

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The average American nowadays will spend about 13 years of their lives in school while most have stress levels of 5.8 out of 10 scale due to school. While the average American in the 1920s spent about 8 years maybe more if they lived close to a high school but most didn’t have to stress about school - they were put straight to work. Standardized testing nowadays has greater significance than it did in the 1920s. The rise in seriousness has caused a rise in stress and mental health issues in teenagers throughout the years.

Standardized testing determines students' intelligence, and over time it has gained greater importance. This change in standardized testing was best described by Livia Gershon, a Freelance reporter, published in JSTOR daily as well as other credible sources. In accordance with Livia Gershon “Testing found a way to identify kids who might go on to doing great things while avoiding wasting resources on so-called slow children as well as tracking students on the right career path”(Gershon, 2015). Since the 1920s so many things have changed and over the years standardized testing has well gone through its own transformation. In accordance with Livia Gershon “The weight pressure placed on those tests grew increased over the decades as the Cold War and the globalizing economy put a spotlight emphasized on schools’ production of the skilled workforce” (Gershon 2015). Therefore due to the need for educated workers, there has since been a rise in the relevance of standardized testing.

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Due to the surge in importance of standardized testing over the years, there is a rise in stress levels in students. Christina Simpson, a Harvard graduate who mainly focuses on child learning development states, “The effects impact of standardized testing has on students’ physical and emotional well-being are also as well quite troubling and deserve attention”(Simpson 2016). Most people in the 1920s targeted mainly putting their kids straight to work and contributing to helping their families which caused many to view school as not essential for a good life. While nowadays students are constantly told that to succeed in life they need to go to school, Michelle Maideberg, a contributing editor of the journal of the Eastern Group psychotherapy society as well as published in various professional journals addresses in her article she states that “The most commonly re frequently reported source of stress in her surveys were in school (83 percent)accounting for 83 percent, getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school”(Maideberg 2017). In another survey, she states that another main cause of stress in teenagers is schoolwork. We see this rise in stress due to the competitive environment in schools. Since 1946 and 1964 when there was a rise in the population and throughout the years the population continues to grow we see the school environment become more competitive due to many people wanting the same jobs which only the best can have. This puts a great amount of stress on the students.

While standardized testing does put a lot of pressure on students, teachers and parents also have a major role in causing stress. Jaime Rosenberg a Penn State graduate who wrote several articles for the newspaper states that ‘“The results suggest that cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger people compared with older people”(Rosenberg 2019). Stating how younger people are more likely to look towards suicide and harmful outcomes due to the stress they have. Chris Weller takes the view of teachers who have personally seen how the classroom has changed over the years. Weller was a senior innovation reporter who’s written for Newsweek and the Atlantic where he likes to cover basic income, education, public policy, psychology, and the future. In his article, he takes the perspective of Charlene Vermeulen and she states, “‘The fringe behaviors-- mental health issues such as anger management, anxiety disorder, cutting, and depression have increased drastically’''(Weller 2017). With this, you can see how the increase in stress over several years has increasingly caused an impact on students and the way that they go through their lives affecting their mental health. This change in mental health has been caused due to the pressure students are put under by teachers and parents to get a high GPA to get into good colleges, in addition to themselves; students can cause stress themselves. In the article, altogether see the side of Hope Rigby a special education teacher who states in the article, “‘It seems to me that all of the work done around child development has been thrown out the window… and instead of considering the diverse development rates of children, we have a rigid set of structures that, if not met, meaning the students are somehow behind”(Weller 2017). Due to this standard put on students by the schools, students grow up with a mindset that college is the only route for them after high school while in earlier years, per se the 1920s, many people were able to create a stable well-lived life without a college degree and it wasn’t frowned upon during those times.

Contributing to both outside and personal stress factors we see that nowadays many people are not as open to mental health issues. Theo Bennet studied and has personal experience in mental health issues. He states that “This idea is so ingrained into our society, that convincing yourself that you are not weak that mental illness is normal that you are normal is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. Our society is so driven around self-improvement that sometimes mental illness gets confused with mental weakness”(Bennet 2014). Nowadays people will continue to believe that mental illnesses are not important to treat. Many students throughout the United States suffer from mental illnesses and neglecting them will continue to make matters worse.

As the years have passed we have increasingly relied on standardized testing and have put this image in students' heads that if they don’t succeed and live up to the standards that society puts on them, they are considered failures. Thomas Curran, who is a member of the Center for motivational and health behavior change in the bath and is currently an assistant professor in the department of health at the university of bath, studies the personality characteristic of perfectionism, how it develops, and its impact on mental health. He touches on this topic in his ted talk “Our dangerous Obsession with Perfectionism is getting worse,” he explains how society has increasingly changed throughout the years, we now see a rise in perfectionism and many other mental health issues. He states that “Over the last 25 years, we have seen perfectionism rise at an alarming rate… seeing more mental illness among young people than ever before”(Curran 2018). Throughout the years society has implanted a seed into young children's minds, not just telling them what a perfect life, is but as well to set the bar high. “Young people in high school take 112 mandatory standardized tests between kindergarten and the end of 12th grade. No wonder young people report a strong need to strive, perform, and achieve at the center of modern life”(Curran 2018). This causes them to believe that their worth is determined by their GPA and ranking as well as standardized test scores.

With the way that technology, social standards, and environmental factors are changing there will be an obvious dramatic increase in mental health issues. If we continue with the way that we glorify standardized testing we will as well continue to put the toxic image that students need to be college-bound to succeed in life.

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Argumentative Essay on Standardized Testing. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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