Standardized testing: Should it be required?

The ACT provides prep courses and a pre-test for students.
The ACT provides prep courses and a pre-test for students.
Ashlyn Hoffman

Over the past few years, more concern has been growing in the education field on whether testing should be mandatory. People believe that testing does not show a student’s true potential. For some, tests can create anxiety, but they can also help students improve test-potentiated learning.
One of the biggest arguments against testing is that tests do not accurately measure student knowledge nor predict future success. Every student has their own style of learning and abilities, which makes deciding the student’s capabilities off of tests difficult. Various factors play into affect the student’s capabilities like test anxiety, test-taking skills, learning disabilities and the student’s mental health. These factors can lead students to a decrease in motivation which will impact the student’s performance. Instead of standardized testing, teachers should be more open to performance-based assessments. Not every student will test to their full potential through standardized tests, but with tests that fit adequately to the student’s abilities, growth will then be accurately measured. Not requiring tests like the SAT and ACT is becoming more common in most colleges and universities. Studies show that more than 80 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. do not require students to take standardized tests. This removes a huge barrier for certain students.
From a different perspective, testing is essential to learning. Many teachers and professors believe that testing helps promote student growth. By taking certain repeated tests, teachers can see areas of growth, strengths, and weaknesses. They can also help place students in advanced or lower placement classes. Testing can ensure that students are obtaining the information learned and what needs to be worked on further. Standardized tests can show what areas they can improve in, but can also show teachers where they can improve their teaching to create a better learning environment. Even though most colleges and universities don’t require standardized testing, good SAT and ACT scores can improve your chances of getting into a desired school. Because most colleges provide the choice to send test scores or not, including the option to retake it as many times as desired, which can help students feel less pressured and stressed while taking the test. New options to fit the student’s preferences are provided. Soon, students can choose if they want to take tests electronically or on paper. Also, instead of retaking the whole test, students will get the opportunity to only retake certain sections.
Many can argue that standardized testing should not be required, but schools have changed many policies to accommodate students. Students can retake sections or the whole test as many times as they wish, they can choose to take it electronically or on paper, and for applying to most schools, students can decide whether to send in their score or not. All of these new incentives can create a more comfortable and student-led environment.

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