The Centipede

Standardized Testing

Eric Yoon ’20, Staff Writer

Standardized Testing

Eric Yoon ’20

 

     As I head into my second semester as a junior, I am beginning to feel the pressure of college applications, which begins with standardized testing. While I have stressed a lot about performing well on these exams, I have never stopped to wonder: do standardized tests accurately reflect a student’s given set of skills?

     Growing up in Korea, I was always surrounded by academic stress from an early age. I found myself spending endless hours after school in small cramped classrooms, struggling to ingest material too difficult for my age. I was overly stressed, competitive with my peers, and often sleep deprived because of the amount of work that I had to do  on a daily basis. This was my life for five years, as I could not escape the endless cycle of work and stress. This prompted my decision to leave the harmful environment and seek a better education in the United States, where I eventually ended up at Concord Academy. Looking back, I see my old friends still stuck in those classrooms trying to cram useless information that does not reflect their uniqueness nor their innate talents.

     Today’s standardized testing is no different from the environment I grew up in. Standardized testing only shows how well students can read and comprehend given passages, how well they can apply their writing skills, and how well they can do math within a given time constraint. This does not achieve anything.  Although it is easy to test students from all across the country and abroad with the same testing material, these tests simply do not enough reflect all of what a student can do.

     I had the opportunity to talk to Mark Engerman, head of Concord Academy’s math department, who shared a similar view as I did. Mark had proposed an alternative to today’s standardized tests. He strongly believes in the AP testing system where students can choose to focus on specific subjects. While it may seem arbitrary to emphasize one’s ability to master certain subjects, it is a much more efficient way to show how talented a student is and how interested they are in that given subject.

     During my time here, I have come to value the openness of Concord Academy, where students are free to voice their opinions, build their trust in people, and grow as scholars. I strongly believe that an immediate change in the standardized testing system will further add to Concord Academy’s core values and make room for more success. With the change, students should be free from the pressure of SATs and ACTs, while being able to invest their time in studying and discovering a love of learning through subjects they wish to be tested on.

 

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