Standardized testing wastes class time


Photo by Curren Gauss.

Sophomore Hugh Darrow checks the schedule for the week of spring ISTEP testing on Feb. 4.

Growing up in Fishers, I have taken the well-known, dreaded, standardized test: ISTEP. I remember the rumors in elementary school that the testing would end in intermediate school, then junior high, then high school and now, as a senior, this is the first year I have not taken a required, state mandated test.

Like a majority of students, I have always hated taking tests like ISTEP, the PSAT and the PACT, but I understood their purpose. However, something I have not understood is the waste of class time on these tests.

Let me explain, it is not that I do not see the need for standardized testing. While I do not enjoy their purpose, I am aware of the intent behind the testing. But, I do not see the point in having SMART periods that last over an hour for students who do not have tests to take. As a senior, I love SMART period. It is a time in which I finish my homework, work on my speech pieces, take a nap or even finish writing a newspaper article. Believe me, I enjoy a long SMART period as much as the next kid with senioritis, but they are unnecessary.

The fact of the matter is: this week, non-sophomores will have over an extra hour to do whatever while the sophomores complete ISTEP. To me, I do not comprehend why those who are not taking the test are having wasted time.

If it were up to me, I would have standardized testing completely removed from public school systems. The tests are not only time consuming and pressure filled, but sometimes they are not even applicable to students. My younger sister, Nora, is in double advanced math, which means as a freshman she is in Algebra 2. By the time it is time for her to take ISTEP sophomore year she will be taking Precalculus/Trigonometry, leaving the state standard for sophomores, Geometry, three years behind her, which means she probably would not remember the key concepts. In 2016, Christina Simpson wrote a paper for the Harvard School of Education on the effects of standardized testing on students. Simpson concluded that testing, like ISTEP, is detrimental to the youth of America and causes unnecessary stress and competition.

Bottom line, standardized testing holds its own place in education systems, however the time spent on standardized testing could be used more effectively by students and teachers not testing or proctoring tests, and it is up to our administrators to figure out what the best use of our time really is.