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Learning Should Be About Students, Not Tests

Schools, and the students within them, are not standardized. The way they are assessed shouldn't be either.


How does standardized testing affect students? After reading about the growing movement to opt out of standardized testing, I'm inspired to share my experience. I'm currently a senior at Mifflinburg Area High School in central Pennsylvania and have taken the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, a state required standardized test for students and schools to identify their "level." While in theory this kind of test—nowadays every state has their own version—may seem like a good idea, I do not believe standardized assessment is helping the educational process on the level of the schools and especially on the level of the students. It may even be hindering it.

Standardized testing creates a vicious cycle. The state hurts the school, which in turn must hurt the students. Schools—and administrators—must focus on state standardized tests since test scores determine funding. Schools that do not perform as well get less funding. This doesn’t make sense—wouldn't it be better to provide more resources to the schools that are not doing as well so that they can improve? Furthermore, the state has been making it even harder for schools to meet the standards they are setting. While many schools are not meeting—or just barely meet—current standards, state officials continue to raise standards rather than work to ensure that as many schools as possible meet the old levels first.

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