Are State Assessments Really Helping Improve Education?

Written by: Lane Barrette, Editor in Chief

From April 10-13, every sophomore will be taking state mandated assessments on both math and English, and juniors will be taking the science and social studies. Many high school students find state assessments unneeded, because of the monotonous process of test taking, the vast amount of curriculum covered in the tests, or the general stress it causes for both teachers and students.

*State Assessments do not accurately showcase students abilities*

The core reason students are mandated to take state assessments are so the state can see the progress of students and teachers. The problem is, state assessments don’t completely showcase students’ capabilities.

According to Matt Renwick with edCircuit, assessment in education is messy because the education system is attempting to measure student growth and achievement, but a single test cannot showcase the full capabilities of students.

Gaging student achievement by one or two test scores does not fully encase how a student or teacher is doing in the education system. Since state assessments are multiple choice, a wide variety of scenarios could occur that causes test scores to not replicate the students growth. On the flipside, state assessments don’t force accountability so students aren’t obligated to try their best as if they were when taking a final for a class.

*Teachers are forced to teach more than a year’s worth of curriculum*

Due to the general nature of state assessments, a vast amount of curriculum within a subject must be covered throughout the year. However, the needed knowledge to answer every question successfully on state assessments can not be covered in a single school year’s time. This causes teachers to cram more into each year’s curriculum than a normal student can handle.

According to Judith Dubois, the overall expectation for students is just unrealistic. For generations teachers have been blaming the students, saying that they were lazy and unmotivated. However, the students were extremely intelligent, hard-working and highly motivated. She got along well with them and they did everything she asked and passed all their exams with flying colors. But she couldn’t help but notice that the lessons they had diligently learned for her tests were quickly forgotten.

In short, not all students can keep up with the curriculum, causing students to lose more than they gain.

*Students and teacher are generally stressed with state assessments*

The purpose of state assessments is to gage the growth of students. Whenever this growth is not up to par, teachers and administration are usually blamed and can receive negative consequences. These consequences range from lowering the funding to firing of teachers whose students do not receive good scores. These possible outcomes only create stress on teachers, which in turn stress out students.

In conclusion, state assessments do not accurately test student abilities and growth, but also have negative consequences on students and teachers in the long run.