The future of standardized tests


As the emphasis on standardized testing increases, students begin feeling more stress to devote their time to studying.

Hannah Teifke, Memorial Staff Writer

Why have classes revolved around tests, as opposed to the other way around? They have always served their purposes, but are we really being adequately prepared for the real world? 

Since college admissions are such a huge deal, ACT and SAT assessments have had quite an abrupt entrance into English class curriculums in high schools all over the country. These tests are an easy way to earn scholarship money for college and are used as a representation of a student’s intelligence. But, colleges have become so focused on test scores and the results of the tests seem to be completely dictating one’s chances of college acceptance. 

Classes seem to be drilling the ACT material into students’ heads, making learning seem like a long and mind-numbing cycle of reading and memorization. That is, memorizing material that we will not even need after the test is taken. 

That is the main problem with how heavily immersed educators are with ACT/SAT prep. In high schools, extra testing hardly even seems like an option anymore, considering how often time is taken out of classes to assign practice tests and give extensive reviews when in reality, some students aren’t even planning on attending college.

These tests are very important, but it’s not entirely worth it to make students worry themselves sick over their scores and spend all their free time preparing and damaging their mental health due to the stress that high stakes testing causes. Now, students have more things on their mind while trying to complete their work.

 Students can’t spend every waking moment of their time studying. By the time they are of age to take the tests, they are either taking rigorous AP courses, have jobs or are busy with both and are struggling to create balance in the midst of it all. As a focus on good grades increases, the students’ level of care and discipline continue to do just the opposite. 

Aside from test preparation, students aren’t taught relevant skills for their future lives. I mean, how is memorizing the entire unit circle going to help someone be able to successfully manage their schedules? 

As it is possible to learn good lessons from the studying processes, what these procedures are lacking is the introduction of good study habits and time management. 

There are lots of basic life skills that are not taught in high school that should be reviewed more frequently, such as managing diet and mental health with school work or how to effectively memorize material. 

Studying material for standardized tests is very specific as well as learning the strategies for these tests, so even though the tests are important, we need more time for learning relevant material. 

Students are not going to be spending their entire lives taking specific ACT or SAT assessments. After high school and college, the information they learned from the intense studying will be irrelevant. So what purpose will standardized testing serve in the long run? Besides, what purpose do these tests have besides helping us be accepted into college? 

As important as it is to have a good score to receive extra money for college tuition, what will we do with the hours upon hours of time we have spent learning things that will eventually not even matter? 

Are schools themselves really at fault for this? No, their average ACT score plays into their ranking, which is compared with that of high schools across the nation. Since each state’s department of education dictates that the ACTs must be a part of the college application and acceptance process, the schools themselves don’t even have much of a choice in this matter. 

Universities need to change the intense emphasis on tests, or else college will prove to be a rude awakening since time was taken to prepare for standardized tests rather than teaching useful and imperative life skills. 


Contact Hannah Teifke at [email protected]