Starting at the age of 10, kids across the state are sat in a room for four hours, handed a 40+ question test booklet, a couple pens and pencils, and told to do their very best. We are taught from this young age how to take these specific tests and ways we can think like the test; however, the day finally comes and everyone assures us that this one test doesn’t define us. The test only determines if we pass the grade, no biggie right? There are so many flaws with standardized testing, and the stress level it puts on kids is concerning.
Testing rates for students have exploded over 40% since 2002, and it’s not helping the kids. Teachers have said that children under stress have disrupted working memories which causes extreme difficulty in the classroom. Stress caused from standardized testing can lead to some serious problems. For example, students can experience disturbed sleep patterns, abnormal tiredness, extreme anxiety, irregular eating habits, and the inability to concentrate. Extreme stress levels like this in kids are completely preventable, and teachers, students, and parents, all agree that something should be done to prevent it.
To clarify, yes, of course it is important to make sure kids understand the topics they have learned throughout the year; however, so many approaches to the ways kids are tested could be immensely improved. As 7th grader Bella Stansburry says, “the STAAR test stresses so many kids out who, like me, succeed in the classroom, but don’t do well in testing environments like that of the STAAR.” Scary enough, this is extremely true. Tests like the STAAR are for the soul purpose of assessing our knowledge, but so many children are just not the type of learners who can answer question after question for four hours. “Although the purpose is to measure where we are academically, our results are not always the best indicator of that. Students become so stressed over succeeding that we overthink the simplest questions and don’t end up with results that accurately convey our academic achievement,” Bella says. This conclusion isn’t hard to understand. Many students do exceptionally well in the classroom and then completely bomb major tests all because of the amount of stressed placed on them. On top of end of term exams, the STAAR is too much for students to handle at the end of every year.
All in all, standardized testing might be a way for the state to see valuable information about its student residents, but it is not worth the burden it puts on these kids to succeed. When you add up the pressure put on students and the quantity of tests we take, it isn’t worth it, or even healthy, for kids to feel this way.