Reconsider Using Standardized tests

Throughout the years of a student’s school career, standardized tests are given for few reasons. Some of which include learning placements and teacher evaluations. But over the recent years, questions have risen regarding the purpose of these tests. Standardized tests can be used to dictate whether a student passes a grade, gets into a college, or needs more help with a subject. They are also known for dictating a teacher’s ability to teach. But are these standardized tests accurate enough to do so? 

Standardized tests are not accurate enough to be used to evaluate a teacher’s ability to teach. It is known that most students don’t have the motivation to do their best on standardized tests. There is also the factor that there is a difference between what is taught and what is tested. The data that is collected from these tests isn’t enough to say whether or not a teacher is doing their job well enough. Doctor Adam Lothrop, a chemistry and biology teacher at Triton High School, talks about how he takes extra time on certain units to help them understand better. “For example, when I’m teaching, and we’ve been cruising along and doing everything on the curriculum, and there is a unit where the class doesn’t fully understand, I usually hit the brakes. My job is to teach. So I’ll focus more heavily on that unit. Then, because of the time I took to go over that unit some more, some other units were shortened because of the time I spent on that one unit. Does that mean I am a bad teacher? I feel like these students deserve the time to understand things. It’s about them,” Lothrop said. Lothrop is very aware of the time he takes to teach his students the lessons they don’t understand fully. He says how he wants them to be able to do well on the tests in class and the MCAS. But just like every other teacher, he doesn’t know the questions going to be asked on the MCAS test. If the MCAS focuses more on a certain topic that there wasn’t enough time to cover fully, that means that students may have a full understanding of some topics compared to others. 

These tests are also not accurate enough to be used to show a student’s knowledge as a whole. A whole number of things could get in the way of the data. “ It does measure some things but it does not measure everything,” Lothrop said. “The other danger is that it becomes such a focus for students and teachers that it kind of consumes everyones thoughts and times and there are interesting questions to pursue in class that might not be included in standardized tests. I really think that they don’t measure everything and that they don’t allow for everyone to learn their best.” Lothrop goes on to say that standardized testing only showcases students’ knowledge on math and English. Other students may shine in other subjects like science, history, or art. These tests don’t represent those arrears of study. A couple of factors in particular that could also affect the representation of a students’ knowledge could be lack of sleep, motivation, or focus. According to, “To enjoy the maximum benefits of good sleep, you need to sleep well for at least a week leading up to your exam. In one study, researchers found that the previous night’s sleep had no impact on test scores.” It has also been proven, according to many websites regarding a teens’ sleep schedule, that teens lack sleep because of their hormones. According to, in a teens body, the hormone melatonin is released at a later time compared to adults and children. This accounts for later sleep times. Normally, before a test day at least, it is apparent that some teens stay up late to stress over studying. This could push back their sleep time and affect their performance on the test the next day. 

Standardized tests are also not a representation of future success. Most of these said tests, like MCAS, are taken throughout your high school career. In the Triton District, all five schools, including both the middle school and high school, present MCAS to their students. For a student who has been a part of the Triton District since third grade, that would mean they have taken the MCAS a total of eight times. When taken, these tests present your knowledge on a topic in that direct time period. In the future, you could present more knowledge on that topic or perhaps less. As an  example, the SAT’s accuracy when pointed towards the future and how well one may do in college lacks reliability. 

Standardized tests are known to be used for determining where a student is at in their learning process. These types of tests are better known as placement tests. They are very valuable to parents, teachers, and administrators when figuring out where students need the most guidance. 

Placement tests are more understandable and useful when it comes to classifying these tests as useful or non-useful. Tests that take a students’ knowledge, categorize it, and determine whether that student is eligible to pass a grade or go to a certain college are not as useful. According to, tests like these induce a lot of stress on students and can negatively impact a students view on school as a whole. The article goes on to say how students are already stressed from the amount of work and tests given in their classes. The school adding in more assessments only adds to the buildup. These factors themselves could affect a students’ performance when taking a test.