The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

OPINION: Standardized tests only generate stress for students

Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Administering the same test to every student is a weak measure of their intelligence.

High school students are constantly overloaded with tests, homework and college applications; as if this wasn’t overwhelming enough, students are also required to participate in mandatory standardized testing to graduate, such as the NJSLA exam. Along with this standardized test, students must also devote hours to studying for the notorious SAT or ACT for college. The stress of these mandatory assessments piles onto students’ existing anxiety with no reprieve from the continuous burden of stress

The same tests are required for students around the country, but such standardization does not properly reflect students’ knowledge. These tests are limited in scope, focusing only on a narrow range of skills, which can consequently neglect the diverse intellectual abilities of different types of learners. The tests also do not account for external factors such as testing anxieties which can highly impact performance. As a result, tests may not truly capture a student’s full learning potential, which can lead to an incomplete picture of their academic abilities and can negatively affect their academic reputation and college applications.  

It is unrealistic to task students with recalling topics that were taught over the span of months and even years in just a few hours of testing. Students often get extremely anxious before the test is administered and upon receiving their scores. These exams add unnecessary weight and pressure on students that could easily be eliminated from school systems; midterms, finals, GPAs and marking period grades can provide a strong enough reflection of students’ work ethic and ability to thrive in high-pressure environments. 

The anxiety of testing is overlooked by adults and even school administrators and teachers.  As testing has become a normalized practice, not many adults take the time to recognize the enormous amount of time and effort necessary for preparation, let alone the stress attached to the exam itself. Throughout the year, students are faced with various state and school exams, and attached to each one is continuous stress before, during, and after taking the test. Just the mere idea of studying for five or six midterms, the SAT or the ACT can be anxiety-inducing. 

The structure of the exams is very intimidating to students as well; the format is at least 100 questions along with regimented open-ended questions such as DBQs and LEQs. Recalling topics learned months ago in various classes can be a struggle, making the studying process distressing as well. Furthermore, sitting down for three hours to take the exam in a bleak and crammed room is mentally draining, extremely stressful and simply an unnecessary obligation for students. 

Large exams are a poorly thought-out concept that does not take students’ well-being into consideration, as they generate constant stress. With tests, quizzes, projects and homework assignments given throughout the year, students already have more than enough to worry about. It is unnecessary to be re-assessed on an abundance of material and topics that were previously studied and retained by students. Eliminating these exams entirely will only benefit students who may otherwise spend days in a constant state of stress. 

Photo credit: “Computer Problems” by CollegeDegrees360 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Behind the Bylines
Ava Vigilante
Ava Vigilante, Opinion Editor
Ava Vigilante is a 2023-2024 opinion editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys playing soccer, spending time with friends and family, and going to the beach. Her favorite singer is Morgan Wallen.
Alexandra Angelo
Alexandra Angelo, Apprentice Editor
Alexandra Angelo, is an Apprentice Editor for the 2023-2024 Wessex Wire. She enjoys baking, shopping, and spending time down the shore. When she isn’t doing any of those things, you can find her hanging out with friends and family. 
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