LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tests don’t always measure success

By Brianna Inman Odessa

Standardized tests are a kid’s, and instructor’s, worst nightmare. We have to spend four or more hours in a classroom, dozing off, while reading pointless selections in which we can hardly tell what the correct answer is. It’s not what any person would want to spend their time doing.

The material that teachers have to give us is centered around the huge test nearing the end of the year. My teachers often have to rush through topics to meet their TEKS. TEKS are “The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills,” which is a type of curriculum that instructors have to teach by. This results in students not fully understanding the ideas and concepts of that section, which will most likely be on the test.

The test at the end of the year, the EOC, is a very high pressure test that holds your fate in its hands. Many students have to end up retaking the test the next year, and it’s not because they’re not smart. It’s because they don’t know how to take the test.

I am convinced that if the entire city of Odessa took this test, the majority would not end up in the passing percentile. To pass these tests, you have to have a general knowledge of the subject you’re in, but you also need to incorporate many test taking techniques, which many students have not been exposed to.

The test should assess whether you know the material or you don’t, not set you up with four or more answer choices that make you play a game of chance. One example of bad questions is Sara Holbrook’s response to her not being able to answer standardized test questions about her own poem. The poems are sinister and dark, yet they are in a seventh grade English STAAR test. It’s pretty sad when an author can’t answer questions about her own writing, especially when thirteen year olds are supposed to. Standardized tests are full of false answers that can’t always be proven to be better over other answers.

We don’t want to spend all year essentially studying for this test. We don’t want to spend hours in a silent testing environment multiple times a week, wasting class time.