ACT, SAT, ISAT, Oh my!

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Tiger Ashtiani, Staff Writer

A popular topic of debate lately has been whether standardized testing is truly beneficial. The school district locks students in a room to show what they have learned over the course of six years in five hours. Some say it’s unreasonable and unfair, but others claim it gives the Department of Education the information needed to address the progress of our national education system over time.

On Tuesday, April 12th, students around the nation took the Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as the SAT. While many students stressed out months before with numerous preparation books, even more students chose to disregard any responsibilities of studying, including me. Many high schoolers in America are not obligated to take either the ACT or SAT; however, Lake City High School makes it mandatory to complete the SAT to be able to graduate.

Even though this high-stakes test affects our future, a lot of us don’t take it as seriously as we should. This test can determine where we go to college and what colleges we could get into. This test was comprised of five sections, two English sections, two Math sections, and an essay portion.

Though the essay portion is now optional, Lake City required its students to take the essay portion. With only being given 50 minutes to complete a prose analysis essay, it can be stressful. Since each section has a maximum time limit, it adds on to the stress levels students taking this test have.

One major complaint with forcing to take the SAT is that it is an unfair way to assess students. Different external influences such as socioeconomic standing and family life have a dramatic effect on the performance of students.

“The problem of confounded causation involves three factors that contribute to students’ scores on standardized achievement tests: (1) what’s taught in school, (2) a student’s native intellectual ability, and (3) a student’s out-of-school learning,” states the ASCD. As we can see, these tests don’t properly assess each student. We all have different teachers and learning capabilities which influence the outcome of our test scores. The fact that these test scores are incorrect yet they determine our entire future is alarming to many.

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Another major complaint is that the stress levels induced by this test are substantially reducing the potential of scores. With stress levels in teens skyrocketing, a five hour test only builds up the intensity that Junior year has to offer. states that the tests don’t accurately keep count of the important information. These tests may be chock full of questionable analogies and trigonometry questions, yet these questions don’t actually correlate to what we learn about in school. “the items in the standardized achievement test that had not received meaningful instructional attention in the textbooks,” says W. James Popham.

Maybe it’s time for teachers and administrators to actually listen to what the students are saying. We complain and reiterate about how we haven’t learned what is on the test. Maybe we were right. We can’t allow a short test to contain the expanse of knowledge gained over a span of four years.