Standardized Tests Are Getting a Failing Grade

By Ariel Levchenko, Online Opinions Editor

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CHS students will have taken an average of 113 tests throughout their education.

There are tests in every class, the PARCC, quarter exams, semester exams, final exams and AP exams. Wait, don’t forget SATs, SAT Subject tests and ACTs.

The problem with these standardized tests is that they aren’t representative of a student’s intellect or abilities.

So why do we take them?

The SAT was first established in 1926 by Carl Brigham — a psychologist who complained about the decreasing quality of education and attributed it to increased interracial marriages and children.

Though it has evolved since then, the test’s roots clearly indicate a lack of validity and a system stacked against certain members of society.

The ACT was designed and first implemented in 1959 as a competitor to the SAT, because at the time, the SAT was mostly used in the Northeast of the continental US, so several individuals sensed an opportunity for profit.

Over time, these two tests have become essentially mandatory for any student who wants to get into most U.S. colleges.

The SAT isn’t based on any curriculum, and it doesn’t take into account the courses one takes; it’s a standalone creature.

This means that one cannot simply prepare for the SAT or the ACT by just following his or her school’s classes. This isn’t like AP exams, where the class teaches to the test and prepares a student—there is literally no way for a teen to prepare for one of these tests without extra work outside of school.

So what do students have to do? Take prep classes, buy books, hire tutors and spend months and lots of money preparing for these tests, the sole purpose of which is to show colleges that one is ready to go to college. Doesn’t that seem a little ironic?

But there’s an even bigger issue. The cost to prepare for these tests hurts students who can’t afford to shell out a thousand plus dollars to prep for a test.

Both the SAT and the ACT cost around $50 each time you take either of them, and people often take them more than once.

President Obama has called for an end to so much testing, but we can’t forget that he increased the amount of it — his Race to the Top built on the existing No Child Left Behind.

There should be some sort of tests to examine college readiness, but the system we have now is broken, and when something is so utterly broken, stop trying to fix it. Throw it out, and make something new.

Perhaps a comprehensive exam by each school that each student has to pass — one, cumulative graduation exam. Would it be hard? Yes, but just because something is impossible, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.