Standardized Testing: What do students think?


As a society, we push students to bring home good grades and to strive for perfect attendance. However, one thing that is heavily pushed on students from the minute they enter their freshman year is the ACT.

The ACT tests students on their basic math, reading comprehension, science investigation, and writing skills. Colleges use these scores to determine who gets accepted and who does not. In addition, high schools use the scores to determine college and career readiness using the ACT college and career-ready benchmarks.

According to the ACT, “The benchmarks represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75-80% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing courses.”

With such high importance placed on standardized testing, students find themselves stressed out over them. For example, 63.5 percent of high school students admitted that these tests stress them out.

Teachers make them [tests] seem like they’re such a big deal, but in reality, they’re not,” senior Crystal Espinoza said. “When students find out their test scores and those scores don’t meet the student’s expectation, they blame themselves for not doing well and believe they’re mentally dumb. These tests are also a waste of time.” 

After collecting information from a survey sent out to high school students, 62.2 percent said they did not prepare for these tests. However, 63.5 percent of students admitted that these tests stress them out. 

Among the reasons for the stress include how the scores make students feel about themselves.

“I need to get good scores to be worth anything,” junior Ezra Linnan said.

While academic stress is valid with such high-pressure testing, few colleges actually require students to submit their ACT scores.

Before Covid-19, the ACT score was in the top five requirements for college admissions. Currently, it is optional for most colleges to send the score in. Even colleges like UW- Madison let applicants decide if they want to send in their scores. Universities make the decision year to year if they continue to leave it up to the students or require it.

The ACT is not the only standardized test students are given. For example, freshmen and sophomores take the Badger State test, which isn’t a test to test students per se. Instead, the test is used to test the school and its quality of education. Freshmen and sophomores also used to take the Aspire, but this year, that test has been replaced with the pre-ACT.