‘Rite Idea: Why Must the State Torment Us With Tests?

With freshmen facing 325 minutes of English tests that are only the beginning, we question the motives of politicians who support Ohio's testing program

Dear politicians,

Where can we even begin when talking to you about standardized testing?

Now that a sample of Shaker’s ninth graders will spend 325 minutes in April taking a pilot English test produced by the state of Ohio, we can’t help but ask, “What’s the point?”

That’s more than five English class periods wasted taking yet another standardized test that our teachers did not ask for or create. The district agreed to pilot this test, but it’s only one of what will eventually become 10 tests every Ohio high school student must take in order to graduate. One of a tidal wave of state-mandated tests that will overwhelm students from Fernway to the high school with no relief in sight. We think the new standardized tests are a waste of time, resources, money and add an unnecessary burden  for teachers and students.

It would make a lot more sense if the students taking the tests and the teachers whose careers will eventually be determined by the results of these tests had a say in the policies. Politicians, you don’t know everything, especially when it comes to education. You didn’t need to take countless state tests when you were in high school, and your generation turned out fine. Why must we take all of the tests you didn’t have to take? Why is it so necessary that the learning of our generation be measured, while yours wasn’t? Are you trying to tell us that if we don’t earn amazing scores on the tests that you never took, we won’t be successful? We would like to see your scores on the endless tests that Ohio students are about to face.

What are your motives for forcing this test upon us? We cannot tell if you’re really trying to measure our success and knowledge, or if you’re trying to just help testing companies make money. The grades we get on standardized tests determine our future — and could determine our teachers’ futures —  and that isn’t fair.

We are the future. There will be a time when our generation leads this country. How are we supposed to fix the next international crisis if it doesn’t require sitting in silent classrooms for three hours without collaborating or asking questions?

It seems that you care more about our  test scores than if we are happy in school or actually learning anything. But not everything can be quantified. When you try to put a number on something like knowledge, it just doesn’t work. Some people do not test well, and that is fine. That’s because in the real world, life does not revolve around tests, like it does in high school. After high school and college, we will need to know how to solve problems, not satisfy state standards.

We ask that you take a look at these tests again and consider the reasons why you are administering them. We hope you will see that their harm outweighs the benefits and do the right thing — retract them.

Sincerely,

The Editorial Board

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