Michelle Obama, most would describe her as a very successful and intelligent individual with all of her accomplishments including graduating from Princeton University as Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and continuing her education at Harvard University law school. Mrs. Obama once stated “if my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I can guarantee that”. Mrs. Obama, one of the most influential and intelligent women in the world, did not do great with standardized testing.
Standardized testing is used today to test college readiness, to measure a person's cognitive aptitude and certain characteristics, and to predict a students ability to succeed. The common types of standardized tests are Achievement tests, Aptitude tests, College-admission tests, International-comparison, and Psychological tests (The Glossary of Education Reform). There are so many factors that go into how well one can do on a standardized test like anxiety, lack of knowledge about writing skills, and how the child was raised and their life at home. Standardized tests cause severe stress in students which can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, tiredness, irregular eating patterns, and the inability to concentrate. Cognitive impairment researchers found that there is a decrease in memory space in more stressed students.
Standardized tests are unfair and discriminate against ESL kids, which stands for english as a second language and students with special needs. ESL kids are required to take these tests in english even though they don’t know much english and students with special needs take the same tests as other children, receiving few of the accommodations usually provided to them as part of their Individualized Education Plans. Some families can spend over 1,000 dollars for prep tutors and classes but other students are left behind because their parents are not able to afford these tutors that most kids need. Special education kids are also forced to that the same tests as other students receiving little or no accommodations because of how strict the standardized testing system is.
According to Gerald W. Bracey, PhD, there is a list of skills that standardized tests do not measure and they are 'creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability” and the list does not stop there with fourteen skills following.
There are many alternatives to standardized testing, for example, student- teacher interviews. Student-teacher interviews help students prepare for the real world like, job interviews, and most importantly social skills.
Another way to test ones skills and abilities is through projects. Projects engage real world problem solving skills and let students display their own creativity unlike standardized testing.