It’s that time of the year when millions of school children worldwide sit down to take their standardized tests; while overseas students compete with American students for entry into prestigious programs, only a select few make it across the finish line. One would have assumed that the benefits would far outweigh the costs but the opposite seems to hold true where standardized tests are concerned and here’s to taking a closer look at some of the associated negative effects of standardized tests.
- Extreme stress: Students are often forced to take preparatory courses for standardized tests along with advanced test prep courses, PSATs and more tests. In the end, by the time the student graduates from school, he would have taken several tests and would have been told time and time again how these scores would decide his very future. This, unfortunately, causes the student to experience high levels of stress as a result of preparing for these standardized tests and having to worry about the test scores.
- Self-esteem: Some of these standardized tests are normed in the sense that they are designed to fail a certain number of students, during each sitting. And being exposed to such tests, testing atmosphere constantly and failing in several of them can have a residual knock-down effect on one’s self-esteem. This is why it is important for these students who often internalize their failures to seek counseling. If left unchecked, it can lead to students undergoing a personality change to developing chronic health condition as a result of the high stress.
- School closure: Schools are also judged on the basis of how many students successfully clear their standardized tests each year and how many scores really high on the same. If a school does not show stellar results each year, it is considered as a failure and put on notice by the board of education. And If the situation does not improve, then the school may have valuable resources, such as lab, research facilities taken away eventually leading to school closure. This may seem unfair and it is, as most of the school closures take place in the poor districts.
- Lack of actual learning: With all the students being brainwashed to prep for these standardized tests, there’s very little time left for any actual learning. In fact, during the last year in school, students spend more time on tests and preparatory courses than they do on learning anything useful. This can also stem both curiosity and creativity on the part of the student.
- Reduced content knowledge: With more time being spent on preparing for the standardized tests these students often lack the ability to master any one subject which is a bit alarming.
These are some of the negative effects associated with standardized tests; with each year, it is getting harder and harder to get into exclusive schools and specialty programs. With more emphasis being placed on standardized tests and unrealistic high scores, more students are being exposed to high stress on a daily basis, as they prepare to take the standardized tests the following year.