Students must take state-mandated student assessments for most major subjects, and it has caused education to become much too regulated. It would be better for this system of testing to be phased out completely.
Until recently, the subject area tests were only required to be completed and passed for graduation. However, according to the Clarion Ledger in regards to the policy change, “Starting in the 2016-2017 school year subject-area test scores will account for 25 percent of a student’s final grade in the related course.”
High school students should not have that kind of pressure placed on their shoulders, especially when the tests are completely unnecessary
As a recent high school graduate, I can attest to the redundancy of these tests firsthand.
Their mandated status forces teachers to abandon their own teaching styles, paces, and choice of content in favor of a static agenda laid out for them by the school board.
At my high school, the teachers unfortunate enough to teach a class associated with a state test were graded based on the number of students who passed the test in their subject-area, which essentially forced them to teach strictly to the state test.
They had to race through the school year’s lesson plan, which did nothing to foster actual learning. It simply reinforced the idea of learning material just long enough and just well enough to pass a test that meant nothing in the long run.
Indeed, many high school students who are otherwise excellent pupils and high-achievers in academia have trouble with these tests, and it creates a burden on their chances of success.
An article from MS News further reinforces this in describing students who were unable to pass the U.S. History state test: “Several students who failed the test are even scholarship recipients at universities and community colleges with GPAs as strong as 3.8.”
In addition, an article from Gulf Livestates regarding the 2015 school year: “Nearly half of Mississippi high school students met or exceeded expectations in English last year, while about 27 percent did so in algebra I…”
These numbers are an excellent testimony to how much the tests stand in the way of students. I can understand why the school board feels it necessary to ensure students’ are well-rounded, but this way is much more of a problem than it is a solution. It needs to change.