By Jackson Troxler
I know, I know. The pandemic is a major topic of discussion over the past several months, and most of us are exhausted from discussing it. However, there are certain effects of the Coronavirus that will impact students even after the pandemic ends.
COVID-19 has forever affected the college application process, which was already stressful. While there are temporary changes, such as meeting with admissions representatives over Zoom calls instead of in person, there are other aspects that may be more permanent. One of the main concerns relating to this issue is standardized tests.
Students have been taking standardized tests every year since 2002, when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act. Ever since then, children have been spending about 20-25 hours per year taking standardized tests, according to an article from the University of South Carolina. Moreover, students in the United States take approximately 112 standardized tests by the time they graduate high school. The assessments have become vital to the college admissions process, as many schools require them on an application. While the original plan seemed like a perfect way for all students to be fairly assessed, parents and students now wonder: is such extensive testing really worth it?
Many argue that national testing is not worth risking students’ health. As the Coronavirus pandemic shocked the world, the U.S. Education Department allowed states to cancel standardized tests since schools across the nation had to close. Due to this cancellation, most colleges made tests optional for the 2020 fall admissions season.
While some schools have been test optional in previous years, the number of new schools being added to that list has grown to an unprecedented number due to COVID-19. With such drastic change, however, comes people who wish to capitalize on it. People have been advocating for decreased emphasis on standardized testing in college applications, and some have even suggested getting rid of them all together.
When discussing this topic, it is imperative that both the positives and negatives are weighed. Standardized tests are meant to measure how proficient a student is in a particular subject area. These exams may be an indicator of where a student is struggling as well as where he or she might need help, though this can be rather unreliable since teachers and students often receive their test results up to four months after the tests were taken. Furthermore, the tests are commonly used as a tool to evaluate a teacher’s performance as they are supposed to measure how well they have taught their students.
Despite the benefits of standardized tests, students and parents alike express the overwhelming negatives. The growing complaints from test-takers expose the dangers that come with standardized tests. Students suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety due to these exams. These reasons are the primary motives behind many people campaigning against the inclusion of standardized tests in schools, desiring the U.S. education system to adopt an alternative method of testing.
The Coronavirus has impacted everyone, including students. After reflecting on the past year, many are advocating for the testing system in the United States to be updated. Regardless of whether or not standardized testing remains in the future, the pandemic, though tragic, has created an opportunity for conversation about mandated testing.
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