Standardized testing cracks foundation in US education system


Story by Tye Shelton, staff writer

As a 7:30 a.m. alarm sounds on a select Saturday in America, numerous students roll out of bed to take the ACT. Some students are athletes who had a game the previous night, or had three AP class tests the day before, and of course, there is the student who lacks the desire to succeed for school but is being forced to test by his or her parents. Yet, no matter the student’s’ grade point average, the results of this test will dictate the furtherment of their education.

With school becoming more and more difficult and the pressure of workload becoming more prevalent than ever, anxiety levels have shaped the course in which students learn. The recurring theme of memorization and obedience has surpassed the actual acquisition of knowledge. Only a few months after courses, students begin to forget the concepts they “learned,” simply because one teenage student’s brain can only retain so much information.

Along with the limits of education being pushed to its maximum, anything less than perfect is unacceptable for society and parents of students. There is an understanding of students who do not partake in the advanced placement or dual credit classes that they will receive subtle judgement from their peers. The foundation of education is to teach, lecture, learn, study, review and test. However, these tests do not expand on the knowledge of the subject, merely resolving to memorization to pass. Students cannot be expected to retain and have useful knowledge of 5-6 course of advanced placement and be fluent in them all.

Another aspect of the education system is the presentation of the idea that failure is something of disgrace and never presented as an attempt or trying. However, in the seemingly never ending flow of education, if one falls behind, there is no recovery, or at least this has become the dense fog in which students cannot overcome. In the era in which perfection is deemed the only acceptable result, one C will only drop a grade point average a few tenths of a whole number.

Relating back to the ACT, grade point average does not dictate one’s  A 4.0 cannot promise you a good score, while a great GPA and bad test score is evidence of the limits education puts on students. There is no time to learn anymore because, with the idea of perfect grade scores, you must also be a perfect socialite with perfect perception from others around you. Yet, a student with a 3.5 GPA who does not meet status quo for “perfection,” might outscore the 4.0 students due to their retention of knowledge instead of simple memorization.

There are students who seem to do the impossible of maintaining perfect scores and social status, yet most students are not of this rare breed of intelligence. The figurative claws of the education system not only reach out within school, it causes unhealthy amounts of stress and anxiety amongst students. This system breaks down a student’s self-esteem causing doubt and eventual decrease in student performance within the classroom.

Some people still have faith in school and still think that education is something of glorification. While it invokes a fire amongst the students to pursue knowledge, it simply extinguishes any spark of the blaze to grow any larger than the school deems necessary because students no longer have time to pursue intellectual interest of their own.

Test scores and grade point averages have always dictated college acceptance and scholarships, yet in past years, learning actually contributed to these aspects of knowledge. Students are expected to learn what is deemed necessary by a board of tie-wearing old individuals. Time no longer exists to students because it is constantly consumed by a big test, ACT prep or extracurricular activities. If only students had time to actually study or look into serious topics regarding their present and future educational situations they would not need to have complaints shoveled away into a school newspaper.