Standardized Testing

Maia Heisel ‘21 and Brooke Pierpoint ‘21

Is standardized testing an accurate measure of intellectual ability? Standardized tests consist of time pressure, difficult questions, and random passages. Unfortunately, these tests play a major role in our education today. Whether we are taking advanced placement exams for college credits or applying to college, standardized testing proves to be very relevant. These tests are supposed to measure our intelligence and academic capability. If people obtain high scores on standardized tests, they are praised and are considered bright. But what about other students who work hard, possibly earn good grades, but really struggle with standardized tests: should they be excluded from a prestigious university or job because their scores looked subpar on paper? 

Standardized testing in high school examines students based on their knowledge that can (supposedly) predict their success in college. These tests don’t test students on beneficial information or topics that they have learned about in school, but rather tricky questions that are designed to confuse people. Plenty of people are intelligent and capable of success without scoring high on standardized testing. For example, Michelle Obama, one of the most accomplished and brilliant women, stated, “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I can guarantee you that.” Countless other skills, such as art, music, foreign language, and athletics are not present in standardized tests. Each person has their own unique talents and skills and everyone cannot be tested and treated like everybody else. There are different sides of the spectrum. Some people do really well in school and not so well on standardized tests, while others may not view their report cards or standardized test scores as excellent. Some people who may not excel academically, tend to do really well in other aspects of life and can become more successful than those who do. Because natural talents and abilities are not displayed from standardized tests, students often feel pressure to obtain high scores. 

“A standardized test designed for a standard student cannot accurately determine the intelligence and performance of an individual” (Erschova Standardized Tests are Inaccurate). Fellow students, we must remember that no matter how poorly or extraordinary our test scores may look, they do not determine our future nor our ability to achieve success.