Standardized testing harms students more than it helps them

By implementing multiple standardized tests on students, states and colleges are creating unnecessary pressure on students and lessening true learning experiences.

The consistent use of standardized testing to determine students’ intelligence and capability reduces students to test scores and causes classes to focus more on test material than creativity and thought.
According to, standardized tests produce little learning growth, but lead to significant harm to education.
“Teaching the test” may produce slightly better test scores, but it does not enhance learning.
According to The Washington Post, the average eighth grader will spend 25.3 hours taking standardized tests during the school year.
While wanting to do good on a test may motivate students, it does not give them a holistic learning experience.
Students lose out on opportunities to learn the fundamentals of a subject.
They don’t gain a true understanding of it because they are more focused on maintaining a good grade, which limits students’ ideas of what a successful learning experience is.
According to, “because students know that test scores may affect their future lives, they do whatever they can to pass them, including cheating and taking performance drugs.”
Students often believe that not being able to succeed on these tests, (i.e. getting high SAT and ACT scores) means that they are not smart.
Just because a student may not be the best at taking a multiple-choice test, does not mean that they should have trouble getting into good colleges and doing what they love.
Many tests are often much more difficult than they need to be.
The questions can quickly become convoluted, which is no longer testing for basic skills.
This quickly drains students as they have to spend time analysing each question rather than focusing on the skills they were supposed to have cultivated.
Parents and students will also go out of their way to prepare for these tests, including buying test prep material and receiving tutoring.
According to The Huffington Post, in 2015, parents spent $13.1 billion on test preparation.
One prep book for the SAT can cost approximately $30, and the test itself also costs $49.50.
There are also fees placed on many of these tests, including the SAT, ACT and AP tests. Along with fees for the test, it costs even more to send test scores to colleges.
SAT and ACT scores should not be qualifiers for students to apply for colleges, because one’s ability to take a single standardized test should not affect their entire future.
According to The College Board, colleges use scores in their admissions process and scores can determine class placement.
Colleges tend to look at SAT and ACT scores to make judgements about a student, rather than look at how they perform in their classes and what activities they were involved in.
However, some colleges are starting to realize the uselessness of standardized testing and have become test-optional, like Bates College, Hofstra University and Bryn Mawr College.
This gives students the choice to not submit scores without a negative impact to their potential acceptance, which will hopefully begin to lead to less stress for students and create a healthier school atmosphere.