When it comes to any assessment, there will always be a negative and a positive side to it. Most of the time one usually outweighs the other, especially when it is an assessment that isn’t entirely fair to a certain group of people. In regards to standardized testing, many negative risks and consequences arise from the use of it as a way of accessing someone’s individual grade level and retention of information because of the disadvantages it creates. Not every student is the same and some students learn some subjects easier than others, while some students have an easy time memorizing large amounts of content while others don’t have the attention span for it. This causes a biased effect among the test takers because the test is the same for everyone making it easier for some who have a certain skill that another student may not have. Lastly, the other issue is the large amount of stress it creates and puts on the students. They are expected to do so much in a small amount of time while having to balance many different classes and extracurricular activities all while having to study mainly large amounts of content in order to get a good grade on a test just because they have been told to since the start of school which induces a lot of stress.
When speaking about kids and teenagers, stress should not be mentioned. It shouldn’t be an issue for most people under 18 as they don’t have real life problems like work and payments. Yet when asked, most teens agree during the school year they have high stress levels, especially due to the high expectations they need to uphold when it comes to standardized tests. They get brainwashed from a young age that standardized tests determine their whole lives, starting with what grade they get placed into, to what college is willing to let them in. ‘I really don’t like the standardized testing that we take for the state”, sophomore Frida Moya said. “I have to spend so much of my time studying and I get really stressed out” (Holland Forsythe). That’s too much for any teen to have to handle. Most teens who have to take standardized tests also are required to have to have a large amount of extracurricular activity as a requirement for a school or club. “Chowdhury finds it difficult to balance the four to five hours of IB homework he gets and the two sports he plays with the large amounts of studying that come with standardized testing. He often finds himself staying up until two or three o’clock in the morning trying to get everything done“ (Holland Forsythe). On top of having to do work for classes, volunteer for community service hours, and whatever else they have like work or sports, they’re expected to have to be able to study for a test which makes it all the more stressful.
Next negative effect due to standardized testing being an assessment of intelligence is the fact that it is sometimes biased to a certain group of people. Some students aren’t born in the country they’re studying in and usually have a different first language. Regardless of this fact they have to go through testing just like everyone else even if they don’t have the same sort of knowledge as a native speaker. “English language learners take tests in English before they have mastered the language” (ProCon.org). This puts them at an unfair disadvantage compared to the rest of the people around them. Furthermore if you are born in a low to middle class family, most of the time these standardized tests are too expensive and aren’t really in their budget but they have to find the money some way or else they can’t take them. This means kids with wealthier parents can take tests multiple times without caring too much about it and having more chances to get a better grade. While some students can only afford the test once or twice putting them at a disadvantage from the start.
And lastly, students are put at a disadvantage when they are just bad test takers. Some aren’t mentally prepared enough to face a test and the pressure that comes from it and fold under the pressure. They second guess themselves and end up choosing a wrong answer when in fact they did know it but aren’t given an alternative to test taking.
The majority of the students who are taking standardized testing don’t learn the content, instead just have it memorized and forget it once they pass the test. This is true for most large standardized testing because it is usually multiple choice, it lacks the creativity and the critical thinking needed to have mastered a subject. Since it is just multiple choice, it results in students just learning content, definitions, and vocabulary but not knowing how to apply it. “According to late education researcher Gerald W. Bracey, PhD, qualities that standardized tests cannot measure include ‘creativity, critical thinking” (ProCon.org). From a young age they tell us to memorize content and prepare for the test and rarely teach us to apply the information we learn. This is true when having to study for big standardized testing like the SAT or the ACT. Usually we are told what sort of content will be on the exam and have us learn it and prepare for it but since it is such a large amount of content the easiest way to learn it would be to memorize it. This also results in a cheating culture. Fear of failing and messing up, people will do anything just to pass or get a good grade. “In 2010, Eric Anderman found that even the most impulsive cheaters cheated less often when they believed the point of the test was to help them master the material, not just get a score” (Glen Lineberry). Students will do anything to be able to achieve high grades, even risk punishments by cheating due to the mentality that they need to pass which is brainwashed in them from a young age.
All in all, standardized testing is not a good way of accessing students retention of information and grade level. It has its advantages but they do not come close to outweighing the disadvantages like the expensiveness and the stress put on a student. Majority of students suffer mentality due to so much stress they have to deal with on a daily basis and look for other ways to get by testing like cheating or memorizing content and not learning it. This makes standardized testing almost 100% ineffective because it isn’t testing a student’s creativity or problem solving abilities but more or less just focuses on how much material they can cram in their head.