How Well Do Standardized Tests Actually Measure Our Abilities?

Photo Credit //

Photo Credit //

Lydia R

A lot of people I know dislike taking standardized tests, especially the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System). Students become jittery and nervous when it’s time to test, and I’ve come to realize that standardized tests don’t accurately measure students’ abilities to their full potential.


I believe that standardized testing creates a lot of anxiety for students, which can interfere with how they perform. From my personal experience, anxiety can get into your head and mess you up during testing. Even questions that you would understand on any other day can make you anxious and result in incorrectly measuring your abilities. 


Another reason why standardized tests incorrectly measure student’s abilities is because of the diversity of how students learn. Some students learn better with pictures, graphs, or methods other than just written responses. Standardized tests may not offer these methods, which can make it hard for students to complete or understand the tests and material. What strengthens this issue is that standardized tests rarely take note of creativity or diverse thinking. Some students have strong artistic and creative abilities, but that’s not considered during standardized testing.


Because of all this, many students tend to do badly on standardized tests.Doing badly on tests can also result in a drop in confidence. This can lead to students thinking that they can’t do well in certain academic areas, and that there is no point in trying, which can affect how they perform later in life.


On the other hand, standardized tests are a good way to see students’ general progress, and areas where they may need some support. But all in all, I believe that standardized tests create lots of stress for students, and they don’t accurately measure all of a student’s individual abilities and strengths.