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Junior Erin Kravichick prepares for the ACT in the media center.

3 letters determine perception of future

Standardized testing is a controversial topic that has been up for discussion for as long as it has been around.

According to the Columbia Public Schools (CPS) Assessment Calendar, high school students take six standardized tests each academic year, on average. Any students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) or honors courses or those taking specialized English language learning classes have three additional government proctored assessments.

Those in support of standardized tests, including sophomore Mojuba Shonekan, stand firm in their belief that the exams provide “a valuable outlet to set themselves apart from their high school.” As a runner who aspires to participate in the highest level of collegiate athletics, Shonekan appreciates the opportunity for comparison.

“Chances are, I will go to college with athletic scholarships, but I’ve worked so hard for the last two years to maintain a high GPA and studying for the ACT and SAT, that way I can get academic scholarships as well,” Shonekan said. “College is expensive and every penny counts.”

Those in opposition to the uniform exams think a single test on a randomly chosen date cannot consistently gauge the understanding of the content and intelligence, and that though they were originally created to assess knowledge, they are now overused.
Sophomore Maggie Harrison disagrees with the amount of testing done in public schools. She believes the exams cause more stress than they’re worth and occur more frequently than necessary.

New research further supports Harrison’s argument. A recent study by Dr. Beth Ann Fulton at Walden University suggests students are both overworked and over-tested in the classroom. A current surge of prescriptions for medications which treat panic disorders and stress-induced anxiety episodes, seems to underscore Fulton’s findings.

Standardized testing is a controversial topic that has been up for discussion for as long as it has been around.

According to the Columbia Public Schools (CPS) Assessment Calendar, high school students take six standardized tests each academic year, on average. Any students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) or honors courses or those taking specialized English language learning classes have three additional government proctored assessments.

Those in support of standardized tests, including sophomore Mojuba Shonekan, stand firm in their belief that the exams provide “a valuable outlet to set themselves apart from their high school.”

As a runner who aspires to participate in the highest level of collegiate athletics, Shonekan appreciates the opportunity for comparison.

“Chances are, I will go to college with athletic scholarships, but I’ve worked so hard for the last two years to maintain a high GPA and studying for the ACT and SAT, that way I can get academic scholarships as well,” Shonekan said. “College is expensive and every penny counts.”

Those in opposition to the uniform exams think a single test on a randomly chosen date cannot consistently gauge the understanding of the content and intelligence, and that though they were originally created to assess knowledge, they are now overused.
Sophomore Maggie Harrison disagrees with the amount of testing done in public schools. She believes the exams cause more stress than they’re worth and occur more frequently than necessary.

New research further supports Harrison’s argument. A recent study by Dr. Beth Ann Fulton at Walden University suggests students are both overworked and over-tested in the classroom. A current surge of prescriptions for medications which treat panic disorders and stress-induced anxiety episodes, seems to underscore Fulton’s findings.

Dr. Fulton finds common responses to exam stress include “disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worry, irregular eating habits, increased risk of infections, shortened temper as well as the inability to concentrate.”

“As a student athlete who is very involved in student life at RBHS and an honors student, standardized tests put more pressure on me than I feel I can handle,” Harrison said. “It’s just one more thing to add to a busy student’s plate and even though I typically perform well on them, they are not a very good representation of my effort in class.”

In a survey of RBHS students, approximately 10 percent of the school’s population, on their participation in standardized tests and their opinions about them, 63 percent of students chose the options of “I couldn’t care less,” or “I care, but it won’t be changed.” This number led to a further look into the situation.

Harrison agreed with many other RBHS students in saying that she did not take most standardized tests seriously.

“If they weren’t as repetitive as they are, I would probably take them seriously,” Harrison said. “But we take so many district assessments that they seem to happen all of the time and they get boring.”

In the midst of the opinionated students, there are a few who simply “don’t care.” Junior Mary Kate Stober is very neutral in her stance. She sees both sides of the argument and doesn’t feel that it is her place to intervene.

“If the United States has decided that we should all take the same basic exams to determine our intelligence, who am I to argue with it?” Stober said. “Obviously, there is a reason for the tests, and in the grand scheme of things, I perform pretty well on them, so I don’t have a problem with it, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that I disagree with.”

What is your view of standardized tests? Leave a comment below!

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1 comment

Amanda November 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Standardized tests don’t make sense. My AP World teacher said that tests like the ACT correlate with intelligence, but how does your knowledge on specific subjects have any correlation with your intelligence. In addition, some people are just poor test takers. There are outside factors that can cause a person to perform poorly on a test which makes it crazy that these tests are so crucial in determining a student’s future.

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