Students feel the pressure of testing season


Excessive standardized testing is becoming the norm in public schools across the nation, and students are getting tired of filling out Scantrons. While students understand testing is used to hold schools to a standard, the district administering practice tests every month is too much.

“School is not about learning useful information anymore; it seems as if education is only about preparing for tests these days,” junior Amanda Tannuzzo said.

Some students do well under the pressure of timed standardized tests, but many do not. 

“Some people work extremely hard all year and fail their exam due to the amount of stress they are put under. It’s ridiculous,” junior Samantha O’Keefe said.

 Not only does knowledge and understanding of the material affect test results, but illness, sleep deprivation, hunger and stress can affect a student’s performance.

 Amber Saunders, Jupiter High’s AICE Coordinator who oversees Cambridge testing at the school, said mental health counselors and yoga classes are available for students to help manage their anxiety and stress, especially during testing season.                                                                  

For some faculty and staff, standardized testing is just as frustrating for them as it is for students. Kelly Foss is Jupiter High’s Assistant Principal who oversees Advanced Placement testing, so she has first-hand knowledge of the challenges teachers face with end-of-year exams.

“When I taught social studies, I had to educate my students about facts that have nothing to do with the world we live in today,” Foss said.

In addition to the pressures of testing, students feel stress when they don’t get results right away. Test scores are not returned to students or teachers for months after the exam was administered, and state tests do not provide immediate or relevant feedback on how students can improve.

As well, those who write and design the standardized tests do not always take into account student diversity. Students taking standardized tests have different cultural backgrounds, English proficiency, learning styles and past experiences. 

 “It definitely isn’t fair to everybody. Personally, I am a horrible test taker,” freshman Izabel Anderson said.

Students and teachers realize too much time is spent preparing for tests; although they do acknowledge the need for some standardized assessments to measure what’s learned. Dr. Kelly Easterling, Jupiter High’s Testing Coordinator, said she thinks standardized testing is a way to ensure students are taught the same content regardless of their school or teacher. However, as a mother, Easterling said she thinks a child should not have to go through the stress of the “pass or fail” of standardized testing. 

New testing standards go into effect in 2021 and include the reduction of repetitive testing and aligning test content with what is actually taught in class. Future tests will also increase focus on college readiness for educationally disadvantaged students. According to the 2020 Legislation, students will not need to earn a certain score on the SAT or ACT in order to graduate from high school, and all schools will provide 11 grade students with the opportunity to take them for free.