Testing For What?

A student’s views on test-taking and the stress it causes.

By: Raylee Jones

As I sit in the cold room, my foot tapping under the table only I am sitting at, all I can hear is the growling of my stomach and a few sniffles from other students around me. I contemplate what I am doing, and why I am doing it as I try to understand what the question in front of me is asking. I made a statement as I walked into the big building, ‘My self-worth depends on the score I get on this test.’ The test in question is my AP Chemistry test. I have been studying for a week trying to cram all the knowledge I have learned this year into my brain so I can get through this test and hopefully pass so I didn’t waste the $105 I spent on it.

When you get your score back from these tests, usually you are disappointed, and it is the most unmotivating thing ever.

Junior year is packed full of standardized testing. There is of course the ACT, and then the SBAC testing. For those of us who took AP classes, there’s AP testing week, and if you took more than one AP class, it is one stressful week. When you get your score back from these tests, usually you are disappointed, and it is the most unmotivating thing ever.

To me, these standardized tests make no logical sense. We are asked to sit in a usually cold room, stay silent for hours on end, don’t let our eyes wander off of our papers, don’t ask questions, don’t use our resources; we can’t have water next to us in case we are trying to cheat, and we don’t get a snack either. They tell us to get plenty of sleep before these tests so we try, but the thought of these big tests prevents us from being able to get any sleep at all. So we sit there, cold, hungry, thirsty, and tired.

From other views I understand how it was set up to work. No one should get an unfair advantage, and we are supposed to show what we know. These tests are designed to hold teachers, students, and schools accountable for the learning and education that is supposed to be provided. All I want to know is when will I not have access to talk to my peers and ask for help? When I get into a lab or into a real workplace, I am allowed to ask questions and get help. I am allowed to use the resources around me to help me do my job the best I can. Standardized tests don’t account for that.

So, as I sit in the cold room, and listen to the loud silence that fills it, I am wondering how much my self-worth will deplete after seeing the scores I get on these tests. All the tests that mean so much, yet show so little.