Standardized testing unfairly judges students


Allison Little

Standardized tests are unfair to students. There are many other options that can be used to accurately test student knowledge.

Allison Little, Associate Editor

Standardized testing is an unfair way to test students. This form of testing does not measure students’ true intelligence. There are few advantages of standardized testing compared to the numerous problems. 

Standardized testing takes hours out of students’ lives, but usually doesn’t offer immense or detailed feedback. Most standardized tests take a long amount of time to be scored and returned to the student. Also, they usually only give the student limited knowledge on what areas they struggled with and almost never any resources to improve on these subjects. Without specific feedback, it is difficult for students to improve. 

Standardized tests often have tremendous impacts on futures. SAT tests are only one example of these tests that can make or break someone’s entire future. Even though SAT’s are becoming less mandatory for colleges, having a high SAT score to add to a college application can increase the chances of getting into one’s dream school. Furthermore, lots of high schools require students to pass multiple standardized tests in order to graduate. According to the Department of Education, most students in Pennsylvania are required to pass the Keystones in order to graduate. 

Often teachers find themselves teaching so students pass a test, rather than teaching so students learn and apply the knowledge. This could potentially harm students for years to come. Teaching to the test does not accurately help students understand and find interest in the topic.

Standardized tests do not value any creativity. Mainly multiple choice question tests do not leave any room for students to express any form of creativity, instead it puts them in a box of what the test makers think a young person should know. 

High school is supposed to be the time where students find themselves and learn who they want to be, but when students do that and focus on that topic, they may be punished for it in standardized tests. If a student finds a subject he or she is incredibly passionate about and perfects that subject, they may spend less time worrying about other topics. So when students study what they truly care about, they may be docked a lot of points on standardized tests for not perfecting other subjects and mastering areas that don’t relate to their passion. 

According to, three quarters of American high school students described themselves as “often or always feeling stressed” by schoolwork. The stress put on high school students is already exponential without the added pressure of studying for standardized tests. High school students have enough to worry about without the further anxiety of a big, important standardized test. 

According to Inside Higher Ed, in the SAT, the lowest average scores were among students from families who make less than $20,000 in family income, while the highest averages were among students from families who make more than $200,000. Parents who make lots of steady income can supply their children with lots of support to prepare for standardized tests. Therefore, economic differences in parents can alter the results of students’ standardized test scores. 

Standardized tests often test students’ ability to memorize things, instead of their ability to apply and truly understand the material. Just memorizing can cause students to find school boring and lose interest in the subject. However, if the teacher has the ability to make the schoolwork fun and interesting, the student may pick up a genuine interest and passion in the topic. 

People often say that standardized testing is a good way to compare their school to other schools through unbiased sources of results; however, a lot of things can alter results between schools. Every school is different and some focus more on the tests than other schools, so it is unfair to teachers and students to use standardized tests as a comparison.