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The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper

Reshaping Modern Education

Reshaping+Modern+Education

This is one of two runner-up articles chosen from Mr. Pattersons G Block Rhetoric class after a blind review by The Voices editors. Some minor edits have been made. Thank you so much and congratulations to all who submitted! We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to read your fantastic work, and we hope that you will continue writing!

When I hear peers talk about the SATs, I want to crawl into a ball and disregard my growing responsibilities. With the stress of homework, projects, tests, and afterschool activities, it is nearly impossible to factor tutoring and standardized tests into the equation. Further, standardized tests take a psychological toll on students and are economically unjust.

In one study, Galla concluded that grades are more indicative of college graduation than standardized testing. ACTs and SATs do not measure study habits, resilience, grit, or work ethic. Standardized tests are designed for students with a particular way of learning, but not everyone is an ideal test taker.

For decades, SATs and ACTs have been central in US education. They are the deciding factor in the college students attend. With the stress of SATs looming above the heads of many students, research shows that the level of cortisol—the stress hormone—rises in the brain by an average of 15 percent. In students who were already struggling emotionally, stress levels increased on average 35 percent: a level that has the ability to affect cognitive processes, in turn, distorting test scores. In a study by Hamilton, she found that standardized test taking also impacts quality of sleep due to heightened anxiety.

In a CNBC article, Johnson Hess explains the economic injustice of test taking. Scientists find that wealthy students have “significant advantages throughout the college application process.” Additionally, researchers Dixon-Roman and Mcardle found that low-income students receive lower test scores than their wealthy counterparts: “One 2015 analysis found that the lowest average SAT scores were among students from families who made less than $20,000 a year.” Race was also a factor. Dixon-Roman and Mcardle found that “the difference in SAT scores between high- and low-income students was twice as large among black students compared to white students.”

Another factor in wealthy students receiving higher test scores is tutoring and the ability to retake the test. Standardized tests are not cheap. When a wealthy student is unimpressed with a test score, they do the easiest thing, retake it. The ability to retake these tests is not financially realistic for all families.

Picture a hard-working, driven student. They receive straight As and have a 4.3 GPA. Is it fair and just for this student to receive a lower score on their testing, simply because they cannot afford tutoring and retakes?

I ask that schools weigh the positive and negative consequences of standardized testing. Every high school is different, and an “A” at one school may not be the same at another. Therefore, schools think they need standardized test scores. But, ACTs and SATs are not a proper measure of intelligence and suitability. Their flaws skew results and do not accurately measure success. Just because we have been using them for years doesn’t mean that it is plausible in this new era of education. In a country where we claim to issue equal rights and opportunities to all, it is important that we reconsider “standard” methods of modern education—methods that prove faulty and morally unsound.

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