I Am Not A Number

Stress is a not an abnormal or bizarre feeling to students across the globe. We’ve all felt it at one point or another. School has got students feeling nervous, tense, worried and it’s not healthy. Part of this anxiety has got to do with the nutty standardized tests issued by the state. If you’re anything like me, or a student for that matter, you cringe when you hear the words ACT or SAT.

Nothing is worse than taking these timed devils. You have so little time to fill out so many questions and answer to the best of your ability and blah, blah, blah. The real question is, are these tests really all they’re made out to be? Do they honestly measure all of student’s capabilities? NO. Think about it, kids spend four years of their life “preparing” for these monsters and they’re only given 30-45 minutes to take them. The ACT English portion is composed of 75 gut wrenching questions with a few non-sense articles and they’re given a whopping 45 minutes to complete it. That’s not even fair.

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It’s next to impossible. What really happens is students frantically rush through the test not thoroughly reading the questions or paragraphs making their answers more likely to be incorrect. These standardized tests are setting students up for failure. In the classroom kids are told to “take your time” and “do your best”, but, when it comes to the ACT and SAT or other standardized tests, it’s “get through it as fast as possible and don’t bother to really read anything.” High Schoolers spend four years, maybe even more, of their life studying, practicing, and learning information for standardized tests.

It doesn’t make sense that you would hand them a booklet and give them only about three hours to complete the four subjects in the book. Last time I checked, high school was all about preparing students for the future, for their careers, for their lives. NOT for a stupid standardized test that measures student’s self worth and ability to vomit answers that they guessed on a paper. There is so much more that needs to be taken into consideration. You can’t pour everything that you’ve ever learned in high school into a test and be judged on it. These tests scores are released and then the big dog colleges look at them and then again, judge the students on how well they did.

These inaccurate, rushed, and frantic test scores are looked at with glaring eyes and are deemed “acceptable” or “non acceptable” for colleges. It’s simply unfair. Their whole future rests in their sweaty, shaking hands and TI-83 calculator when taking these ridiculous standardized tests. When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember walking into the school’s cafeteria along with all the other students to take the PLAN test. The test was to predict how well you would do on the ACT your junior year. I didn’t know what was happening.

One minute a teacher would be telling you to begin and then the next, they’d scream, “5 minutes remaining.” My head was spinning. I remember after we’d finished the maelstrom of a standardized test, I cried. I didn’t have time to completely read anything. My answers were wrong, my self-confidence plummeted, and I was depressed.

Is this what we want students to feel? Worthless? Dumb? Pathetic? Of course not! There are other ways for students to prove their worth. There are other ways to show colleges what students can do. There are other ways, better ways, to demonstrate abilities without applying this atrocious amount of stress on students. These tests, they’re not healthy. They’re degrading.

They make students feel worthless, anxious, and depressed. Colleges need to stop basing people off of numbers given by standardized tests. Students are not numbers. They’re students, people, and capable ones at that. Take time to look at the big picture, not just a small snapshot of student’s educational careers.