Are Standardized Tests Really Necessary?

     Standardized tests such as the SAT and the ACT are some of, if not the most, important tests you will take in high school. They cover previously learned material from English and math classes, and are said to determine a student’s readiness for college. These scores determine many aspects of a student’s future after high school, including where they can go to college. While these tests are a common practice in schools across the country, they should be reevaluated to see whether they are really necessary to take. 

     First of all, standardized tests are a major source of stress for many students. Students spend hours upon hours studying and preparing for a test that they think decides their future. High school students already have enough responsibilities in high school, and adding the pressure of doing well on these tests isn’t necessary. If a student does poorly on a standardized test, they can face a lot of pressure from their parents and peers to do better and be “smarter” all because of one bad score. This can lead to students resenting learning and feeling like their bad score defines them. Colleges should focus more on students’ GPA and extracurricular activities, and one test score should not determine an individual’s intellectual ability and future.

     Standardized tests also don’t take into account other factors that can affect students’ learning such as their family life, mental health or social status. Often, students with higher social status are able to afford SAT/ACT preparation programs and tutoring, which can positively influence their scores. This can be an unfair advantage and can lead to an increased rate of wealthier students being accepted into colleges, even though they may not necessarily be smarter than less affluent students.

     On the other hand, when a student does well on a standardized test, it doesn’t mean they actually understand the material. A high test score might only suggest that a student was able to cram the information before taking the test, which they will likely soon forget. Doing well on these tests doesn’t necessarily mean a student is more prepared for college. Standardized tests teach students that memorization and last-minute learning are more effective than actually understanding the information.

     Standardized tests cause students to lose the original purpose of learning, so they should be reevaluated to determine if they are really worth the harm.