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How Schools Are Ruining Our Youth With Standardized Tests

by Jake Grosvenor, Opinions Editor

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The ACT, the SAT, Sbac’s, EOC’s, and every other hellish test in between are the biggest joke and scam that is killing kids hopes and chances to be who they are. With No Child Left Behind integrating a standardized test aspect to kids, now more than ever are kids being cheated and lied to about what they know, and even worse, they are wasting their money too.

For the majority of this article I will focus on the two biggest and well known tests, SAT and ACT. These tests are referred to as college entrance exams because the scores are needed to go to college and what you get determines what schools you can get too. Every high school student will be forced to sit in a dull room listening to monotone teachers read off the long and useless rules to filling in a bubble sheet. This great and beautiful idea that was suppose to help the youth of America bring a stronger future in education and knowledge, instead the leeches of our nation found a way to suck students dry to get these tests.

The fact that these tests aren’t free is beyond hypocritical, the government says that these tests are a must for college and they determine how smart you really are, yet something that schools advertise as being a must for college, does not come with your public school education, which by law is free to each student.

While you may have taken one of these tests for free, the school was still forced to pour hundreds to thousands of dollars into them to take them. Instead of cleaning up the gum stricken school, or purchasing books that aren’t older than us, they had to spend it on a test that is mandatory. If we are in public school, a free school that is given to citizens, paid for by taxes, why is this aspect not free?

Most students will have to pay to take the test on their own, and they are not cheap, they cost anywhere from $40-50. While this is not that much money in comparison to other things, some families cannot afford to spend that much money on a test that is easily manipulated, but more on that later. If a family has two kids in high school, and they each take the test twice, once as a first attempt then again to do better, that can be $200! 200 dollars for something that the is deemed mandatory.

Now the real issue is all the side companies that have spawned because of these tests. Hundreds of tutoring brands and companies have come to the light because of the need and insane drive to get the best score on a test. Your initial thought might be that this is great! People helping kids learn more and succeed in life, what’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong is that they don’t teach knowledge, they teach how to get past the tests tricks. These hundred dollar courses teach kids how catch when the ACT is trying to be tricky, and how to fool the graders, not the knowledge. So instead of motivating kids to learn and do well, it’s giving their parents hard earned money to the pockets of some spineless tutor who will tell you that when you see a problem like this, look for answers like this.

Of course the other issue in these is the stress and entire idea behind these tests.

The amount of extra work that is beyond unnecessary as kids lose sleep and money trying to get that 30 on the ACT is wrong. Kids should not be mini 40-year-old men who is three weeks behind in work, stressing for hours, not sleeping, and not living, this is just a test.

That’s all that these really is, basic tests given more meaning by the big guys.

Fairtest.org points out that these test ”do not measure the ability to think deeply or creatively in any field. Their use encourages a narrowed curriculum, outdated methods of instruction, and harmful practices such as grade retention and tracking.”

That’s a big issue, these tests aren’t allowing kids to think on their own, they are forcing kids to think one way, and they think that if they do well, they must be smarter than their friend who did worse. If Joe got a 25 on the ACT, but he can’t form any deep and meaningful thoughts about issues and important topics without a textbook or teacher guiding him, he’s not as smart as someone who got a 21, but he can think on his own and doesn’t need a textbook and worksheet to guide his opinions and thoughts.

There is also the fact that not everyone wants to go college, and that is more than ok. If someone wants to spend their life fixing cars and being a construction worker, who cares? If that person is good at it, they’ll be the one fixing your car when it breaks, and without him you’ll be screwed, and if someone wants to do nothing in their life, then let them fail. We need to stop forcing everyone through one door, if 50 kids want to go to college, 20 want to be a shop worker, and 10 want to do nothing with their life, let them. Don’t force those 30 through the same path as those who want to go there. All you are doing by forcing the kids who don’t want to follow that path is making the path more hectic and burdensome for other kids. Teaching kids that there is a world outside of college, and that college is one path you can take is ok. That way there is better environments for those kids wanting to pursue something past high school that’s not college, students who want to go to college can, and those who want to fail will struggle and ruin themselves.

It’s time that every lesson plan isn’t a build up to a four hour test, and instead we let teachers teach what they deem necessary, not some test. By eliminating or replacing these tests we can combat the issue of teacher trying to cram tons of knowledge into a few months, and spend more time understanding, diving deep, and expanding on certain topics at a teacher or school’s free will.

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How Schools Are Ruining Our Youth With Standardized Tests