The chaotic crowd swarms the hallways desperately attempting to get a final breath of freedom before being consumed by the endless sharpening of number two pencils and the excruciating levels of stress that dominates the standardized testing environment. Standardized testing is the machine that programs children’s brains into a robotic, identical, and non-inventive way of thinking. This type of testing has been a key factor of American education since the 1800s. The idea of annually measuring a child’s intelligence by certain curriculum in a high stakes environment is a prevalent idea often incorporated into American society today regulated by the government. Recently, the assessments have evoked a national debate. A multitude of people are arguing that standardized testing should be eliminated and has the American education system speeding into a downward spiral. Carmel High School should implement the elimination of standardized testing because it creates a stressful environment that damages students psychologically and physically, they do not value creativity, and it creates a system of winners and losers.
The stressful environment of standardized testing negatively affects a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Daniel H. Pink stated, “We’re motivated, productive, and happy… We should focus our efforts on creating environments for our innate psychological needs to flourish” (Pink 72). This quote means that in order for the most overall prosperity, people need to focus on their psychological needs and creating the best conditions physically as well in order to maintain happiness. This quote emphasizes the importance of psychological health by using certain word choice such as “productive” and “happy” to grasp the reader’s attention with words that people affiliate with success in order to highlight how to obtain these successful qualities. Pink implies that great emphasis should be placed on maintaining a healthy and well balanced psychological environment by stressing the importance of “creating environments for our innate psychological needs”. However, the standardized testing environment is unsuccessful in creating psychological success. Students are so consumed with performing well on the test because of numerous detrimental factors that they are besieged with stress and anxiety that can interfere and hinder their ability to take the test. This contradicts the environment that Pink stated is needed “to flourish” because academic ability is placed as a top priority at the expense of mental and emotional health. The author highlights “happy”, “motivated”, and “productive” to emphasis these necessary skills for success. The standardized testing environment does not resemble these qualities. I conducted a pool in our class asking the number of people that dislike standardized testing and 97% reported they disliked it. This shows how people are not going to be motivated, happy, and productive because the environment is not enjoyable. According to an organization called Parents Acoss America, the author stated, “Parents, teachers, administrators, school and private mental health professionals report student nausea, dizziness, crying, vomiting, panic attacks, tantrums, headaches, near-fainting, sleeplessness, refusal to go to school, meltdowns, depression, and suicide threats” (Parents Across America). This quote shows the observation of the various physical consequences of intensive standardized testing. This quote emphasizes “Parents, teachers, administrators, school and private mental health professionals” to show the variety of adults that are recognizing and concerned about the behavior of children under an extreme amount of pressure in standardized testing environments. Fulton lists multiple examples to imply the multitude of harmful effects that these tests can cause which stirs fear within the reader as they see extremity of the effects such as “suicidal thoughts” and “depression”. If students were able to create their own criteria, the environment would focus more on their own psychological and physical needs. Standardized testing needs to be eliminated because it causes detrimental damage to a person’s wellbeing