Revoke Mandatory State Testing for Delaware School Districts
Revoke Mandatory State Testing for Delaware School Districts
My philosophy is that state testing should no longer be a requirement among DE schools due to the unnecessary stress it provides to teachers and students as well as the inaccuracy of the assessment itself.
One of the main reasons I believe that standardized testing should no longer be mandatory for Delaware School Districts is because of the unnecessary stress it put’s on the teachers. Being an educator is a job that I admire. It involves much more time and effort than we students can imagine and seems to require a lot of dedication. When there is so much pressure resting on teachers shoulders already, it almost feels like a nuisance to be adding the extra anxiety that the test brings. When testing time comes around near the end of the year, teachers can potentially panic and feel the need to “teach the test”. This phrase regards when educators skim over the depth of a concept in the hopes of potentially acknowledging the bare minimum of everything that could be on the test. Given the time that this test is taken, teacher’s may try to teach things faster than students' brains can retain, trying desperately to fit everything in before the clock runs out. I can only imagine how frustrating this is on teacher’s who are just doing what they feel has to be done in order for their students to pass the test. However, if the standardized tests were removed, people could see a positive boost given to any school environment. Instead of creating havoc and increasing the tempo of class, teacher’s could relax and thoroughly enjoy helping their students gain a deeper knowledge of the things they are passionate about. School is all about understanding and obtaining that depth in intelligence, not just simply covering information for a test that carries almost no meaning. Furthermore, when the tempo of class increases it can also lead to something called “binge studying”. This term is used to define studying loads of new information at a speed faster than your brain can understand. Despite having “studying” in the title, this method does nearly nothing for students. It makes it more difficult to retain information and can add to the struggle of kids who may have already not been able to keep up. I’m positive students would avoid this if they could, but since most information is typically swiftly packed in just before Smarter Balanced testing, it’s hard attempting to learn in a different way. This issue is not to blame on teachers, for they're trying their best to teach their students adequately in a timely manner. However, with the added pressure of standardized testing, learning shifts its focus from how much do you fully understand the concept, to how fast you can simply grasp the main idea. This would thoroughly decrease one's score on the standardized test, making it harder to judge a students potential or intelligence.
Additionally, the overall presence of state testing thoroughly stresses out the students as well. Even hearing the name “standardized tests” can fill some students with extreme anxiety and cause unnecessary panic. Ever since these tests became mandatory, they took on a major role in how a student views their own intelligence. Using just this 4 point scale quiz, some students try to evaluate their whole self worth, and likelihood of being successful. This leads to constant over thinking/ studying and sleep deprivation as the test comes closer and closer. When students are hyper fixated on scoring well on this quiz they often entrench themselves in work and stay up later attempting to retain the basic information. I can say from my own personal experience, I have definitely overworked myself to the point of restless nights studying for the state test. The meer shadow of the state test was enough to scare me into panic mode causing me to let go of everything else and study for countless hours. I felt very overwhelmed and stressed, under the impression that this test was meant to deem my self worth. With all this pent up anxiety I found it really hard to focus in class because I was so sleep deprived and overwhelmed. Many students are feeling this same continued pressure and it is leading to a steady decline of one's mental health in the months prior to testing. Personally, I think mental health rules above all else because what is the point of anything if you can’t feel happiness doing it. The whole purpose of school is to get children prepared for college and a positive future, but is a future even possible if students are constantly kept in a bad mental state? With the absence of standardized testing, students would get less pressure induced anxiety and gain more time to learn in depth instead of reviewing. This benefits the students emotional health, how much information they can retain in the year, and even their sleep schedules. State testing is the wall keeping students from maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and I think it is time that we knock the wall down.
Even though the standardized testing heavily impacts the mental health of teachers and students, it lacks impact in the real world. As a student, this test means everything. It is meant to show us how well we are keeping up with others and the state requirements, and provide us a good idea on where we stand and our “value”. However in the bigger picture, it’s almost like this test means nothing. It has no effect on whether or not a student will be successful and even if they will make it to college. There are plenty of influential people in today's society that have openly admitted to not doing well on the state test, and that doesn’t make them any less intelligent. Michelle Obama once stated, "If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn't be here. I can guarantee that.”. Michelle is one of the most successful people I know with extreme knowledge and charisma. This inaccuracy proves that even if you don’t do well on the test it has little effect on your true capabilities and how successful you will be. With that in mind we must question why the test is here in the first place. Some people use this as a measure of the teachers, seeing what they are able to teach their students in terms of standards. Yet again, the test itself comes into play. Like mentioned previously, the state test stresses out the teacher’s too and can cause them to go way faster than normally in the hopes of teaching more information. If the test was non-existent, teachers could spend more time bringing out the knowledge of a student rather than trying to viciously push the basic knowledge of a certain area in students' heads in time of the test. Too many factors contribute to the standardized tests that make them less and less accurate in the terms of figuring out the success of a student or teacher, meaning it would be wise to take them away or replace them.
That is why we need your help. By signing this petition, you could be one of the determining factors in putting an end to this test, and start something new that takes into consideration the health concerns of students. All signatures are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration.