State requires students’ intelligence be compared through stressful testing


Sophomore doing work while teachers inform on the upcoming AZmerit testing (Apr. 12-14).

Standardized testing: the measurement of knowledge, by giving students identical questions and grading them in a “standard” manner, making it possible to compare average and higher scores with insufficient ones. Psychologically this comparison is unhealthy, the stigma attached to test taking, where AP and honors students have to get higher scores to prove their intelligence is emotionally damaging. “In 2005 a science study found that heightened test pressure decreases test results for strong students…” Alexandra Robbin, author of the book “Overachievers”, remarked. Not only are students impacted “almost 70 percent of teachers report feeling test stress, too, are affected,” Robbins stated. 

Former President George Bush created the “No Child Left Behind Act, making children in elementary schools, eighth grade, and one more year in high school take a test to manage resource allegations,” Robbins claimed. In other words, depending on whether a school does better on a standardized test, the more money is funded to them. It is unethical, considering students put (unnecessary) stress on themselves for a test that teachers have to encourage. When asked, what was the importance of AzMerit testing many students had something to say: sophomore Maddi Jolley, a person who opted out of the test concluded “I do think that it is important for the school to get money but for the risk of kid’s mental health, it’s not worth it.” Some teachers did not even inform their students that this test was not graded creating a tense environment for their students. Sophomore Saydie Thomas, a student who did not take the test replied “I studied so hard for this test, I didn’t work as hard on my current assignments so I could just study… Then when I found out it wasn’t graded I decided it wasn’t good for me to take it with my mentality.”

On AzMerit testing days, tenth grade students woke up for zero hour and then started their assessment at 7:25, then the test concluded three hours later. This unusual schedule allowed ninth, eleventh, and twelfth graders to sleep in through their first two classes, creating a “luxurious” time off that occurred for four days. This tempting time off distracted students from the assessment, so some tenth graders skipped the test completely as others just slept at their desk; either or, this way of measuring a school’s intelligence is not accurate, proving that the NCLBA (No Child Left Behind Act) is unfair nor correct.

These tests are required yet cause stress, inequality, and mistreatment demonstrating the detrimental effect that this assessment holds. Kids had the chance to opt out, but this option was not advertised as much as it should; in essence, the state made a few more extra dollars at the expense of a student’s mental health. “The test scared me. I thought it would affect my grade,” Thomas said. Many other options on measuring student improvement have been explored but not implemented because of the “cost it would be changed” Robbins remarked. Although with enough voice students and parents can change the standardized testing system with a more advanced structure and use it throughout the country.