Why Standardized Testing throughout Secondary School should be Stopped

Albert Einstein said it best, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” In a nation where our greatest creations came from people who had imagination and creative ways of thinking we have created a system of tests that we allow to define our students. There are tests for everything now, tests that define intelligence, tests that define college success, and tests that allow or deny students to graduate from secondary schools. These tests that are fabricated by educational instructors who have to look up the answers to their own questions, it is these very same tests that misconstrue intelligence and put restrictions on imagination.

Education is the foundation of a child’s learning environment, many skills cannot however be taught in schools, they are learned through typical life experiences. Some of the most intelligent people I have met in my lifetime were not proficient in test taking, nor could they recite the exact history of our country. Intelligence in school systems today are measured by a simple logical number, a number that is computed not by a teacher but by a scan-tron reader. Our teachers and administrators and school board members want to hand out tests that they themselves could not possibly now all the answers too. Many students are not test takers, their abilities lay elsewhere. For instance maybe they are musicians, and can create a heavenly sound just by playing a clarinet. I might have a high IQ but I cannot play an instrument, to hard to learn I suppose. A composer can create art from nothing, create music from nothing, make entire populations weep, but if they were to fail a standardized test than they would be deemed unintelligent. The questions that reigns supreme are what is intelligence and how does one measure it?

You’re sitting there in a very cold or very hot classroom, your best friend is telling you about his date with a really attractive girl the night before, and you don’t have a pencil. The settings for this standardized test isn’t so standard, as a matter of fact the setting for the test is so atrocious that it hinders the very confidence and intelligence that you have come to expect from yourself. Your uncertified instructor tells you to begin and you hear police sirens out the window, another distraction. In another part of your town a gentleman just like yourself sits down in a nice desk with a couple of pencils and an instructor who has a degree and tells him the exam will begin momentarily. The temperature is just right and your friends are all around you ready to start the exam and there are no distractions today, just for this occasion. I guess when they say standardized they only mean the questions not the atmosphere and not the level of education. A test that will spit out a number, a number calculated by a machine, a number calculated from questions that you had to answer, that you need to get right, questions that will pave the way for your future…no pressure.

Standardized tests may be biased, may be flawed, but they seem to be the only constant within a faltering school system. In all truthfulness no test could ever accurately test a level of intelligence and shouldn’t be the primary or sole basis for any educational decision. It makes students even dumber, it allows them to just scrape by, hope for the bare minimum. It actually stands as a measurement of defect rather than a measurement of areas where the student is strong. America stands as the only advanced country to use multiple choices standardized testing to measure a child’s abilities. Other nations use assessments of a child’s individual work such as essays and real life projects.

We hinder our children from learning because we are too afraid to accept that we have been wrong. Children are becoming apathetic with education, we than force more standardized tests on them. It is a failing system that people who lack true intelligence and imagination support. A memorization and retention of facts is useless to a real world individual. I mean even most universities use essay based questions to determine the intelligence of their students we further hinder these students by pushing such an inaccurate measurement upon them.

The issuance of standardized testing goes so far as to hinder a child’s ability to be creative and imaginative. Most successful business owners started with a creative imagination and an energy that cannot be measured by so called standardized testing. If the tests were so standard than why do they create no true measurement of intelligence, why is it that a student can do very well on a standardized test yet drop out of college within a year. The pressure to teach to the test narrows the wide array of educational subjects; it leaves stones unturned and allows children to only learn the basics of all things. Just the basic nothing more, just pass the test, just pass the test, I just need to past the test. What is the point of teaching literature when you fail to show them how to write like a writer, what’s the point of poetry when there are no more poets, what is the point of teaching retention of United States history when the meaning of the event is left for another day.?

Just remember this, one day in the near future September 11, 2001 will be in the history books, and it will be just a fact, just a date. There will be no lesson on how the act occurred, their will be no discussion on how the situation can be avoided, their will only be a date, a place, and a memorized event. That is the future of education; let us forget the meaning of the activities and travesties and beauties of the world because we have a test in a week, a test that will determine my intelligence and my educational IQ. Just another fact, nothing more, standardized testing must be stopped or it will annihilate the very sustenance that feeds this country, imagination and creativity will die. Many people see this as a debatable argument; many people believe that it isn’t a big deal. One can only hope that we do not go gently into that good night.