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OPINION: Standardized testing – Is it worth it?

By Ava Curran

Stressful and time-consuming, the SATs are making their way to your school even while fewer colleges are requiring them. In response, Illinois should make standardized tests optional for students. The standardized tests students take in Illinois, such as ACT, SAT, MAP, & IAR, are quite inaccurate. 

“So, there’s testing anxiety so you and I could take a test and if I have really bad testing anxiety but I have always performed better in school overall, that’s not a good measure of my intellect and what I’ve learned,” said Rebecca Curran, a program manager who works with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities “So, I think, you know what if you slept poorly the night before, or you were sick, or you have testing anxiety, and/or get a bad score, of course that’s gonna have an impact on students.”

These tests are not accommodated for children with different learning styles or children with learning disabilities, therefore, they do not accurately see what they know and it is unfair to those individuals. 

“Everybody learns differently, so just because you don’t have a disability that qualifies you for an IEP or a 504 plan doesn’t mean that you don’t need certain accommodations or certain things to help you succeed,” Curran said. “So the testing is you sit down, you do it, and that, for someone who has like ADD or ADHD and they don’t have a 504 plan but, you know, they can’t sit for 2 hours at a time to take a test or whatever, are at a disadvantage.” 

Not only are they inaccurate but they have been proven to be classist and unfair to lower-class individuals. These tests seem to be more about whether or not a family can afford proper resources to improve performance and less about intelligence. With the proper resources and opportunities anyone can do well on a test. And those in higher-income households have previously done better than those in less fortunate situations. 

“Critics also contend that many standardized tests are discriminatory in nature and penalize students who come from marginalized communities and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds,”according to an article title “Standardized Testing.”

Even with a multitude of evidence, many still believe that the positives outway the negatives regarding testing. The most well-known is getting into colleges even though fewer and fewer colleges are requiring test scores. In a blog on over 900 don’t require scores including Lake Forest, University of Chicago, Arizona State, and many more. Many critics of making these tests optional or getting rid of them completely think that the tests are accurate and fair due to everyone doing the same thing. Even though it has been proven that it is indeed unfair whether or not everyone is doing the same thing. It’s not a matter of what they’re doing, it’s a matter of how it’s done.

There is countless evidence to support that standardized testing isn’t helping students or staff and is unfair, inaccurate, and soon to be not worth the time and stress; therefore, Illinois should make moves to make it so that standardized tests are optional.

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