Standardized testing may seem like a bummer, but there are ways it helps us and our school

While some colleges are getting rid of SAT and ACT requirements, and it does cause stress for students, there are still pros to taking the test


Aiden Owen

Junior Alex Mueller gets help with school work.

We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the year, and you know what that means: summer!

Just kidding, we aren’t there yet. Now is the time for standardized testing.

Juniors took the SAT and CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success), freshmen took the PSAT 8/9, and sophomores took the PSAT 10. Seniors, those lucky ducks, were free from standardized testing this year.

Most students’ reaction to testing is a groan, a sigh, or some other expression of distaste. (In reality, most students’ reaction to testing isn’t very enthusiastic.) Many of us feel that testing is a waste of time.

Freshman Calli Gedois said, “I feel like this year, I don’t really need to take the PSAT, like maybe once would be nice. But otherwise, I feel like next year is more preparing for the SAT.”

The PSAT has no direct effects on your future, but the more you take it, the better you will do on the SAT. It can show you what you need to work on and make you more familiar with the test format. And if you score high enough on the PSAT, you can earn a National Merit Scholarship. Read more about the benefits of the PSAT in The Princeton Review.

But yes, testing for hours at a time is quite dull and, for some, stressful.

¨Testing, for me personally, gives me a lot of anxiety,” said Campbell Goter, another freshman. “[The school puts] a lot more pressure on it. They make it seem like it shapes your future. I know some adults who didn’t end up going to college or dropped out of high school, and they’re very successful today. But schools make standardized testing seem so much more controlling than it really is.”

So if you don’t ever ever ever want to go to college, don’t worry too much about the SAT. But it might still be worthwhile to try your best to give your future self more options.

If you are going to college, SAT and ACT scores will help you get in… depending on the college. Some colleges aren’t requiring SAT or ACT scores in their applications. One of these colleges is the prestigious University of Chicago, ranked #3 of the nation’s universities.

Its Vice President and Dean of Admissions, Jim Nondorf, told the Chicago Tribune, “We were sending a message to students, with our own requirements, that one test basically identifies you… We wanted to really take a look at all our requirements and make sure they were fair to every group, that everybody, anybody could aspire to a place like UChicago.”

Look closely at the applications of your choice colleges, and you might not have to take the SAT at all. But again, it’s a good idea to expand your opportunities and take it now.

One benefit of standardized testing doesn’t directly affect students but helps compare schools. Mr. Doug Gordon, our Dean of Students, said, “The state will say you take a series of tests. The kids take these, we get their scores, and then it tells us how a… school is doing inside the state of Colorado… So that way, a school can’t go under the radar by being an ineffective school and not doing a very good job teaching students.” This is especially true for CMAS, which compares students in Colorado, but more states are using the PSAT and SAT so that high schoolers can see how they measure up nationwide.

The problem is that many students don’t try very hard on or opt out of standardized tests. All you have to do to opt out is have your parent/guardian send an email to the school saying that you want to opt out.

One teacher at MHS, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “Sometimes, tests like CMAS can be a waste of time because there’s no benefit to the student for taking those assessments. And if there’s no benefit to the student, then they have no motivation to do well on it, which, kind of, in my opinion, invalidates the scores and those measures of success because students don’t have the buy-in to try to do well on those kinds of assessments anyways.”

Personally, I think for most students, testing isn’t going to hurt you, so why not try your best?

Yes, it sucks sometimes, but apathy won’t make it suck less. Yes, it isn’t the best measurement of students’ success, but if you want to make it better, you’ll need a college education to do that.

Our anonymous teacher said, “It’s really difficult to take human beings at all and make them standardized because we’re not.” Although this statement holds true in that not all students are “standard”, perhaps there is something to learn from doing something we don’t necessarily like because it does produce some good.