Tests can test one’s patience

Standardized testing is a controversial topic. While many people believe it is extremely important and a good indicator of how successful a student will be, others feel there is no correlation and that forcing students to take these tests is absurd.

Having recently taken the ACT and MME to complete my graduation requirements, I must say I found the testing somewhat tedious and unproductive. While these arguments have been covered a thousand times already, I have some new insights since I just took the tests. I did very well on the ACT and am happy with my score, but I don’t see the point of the tests in general except that colleges look at your scores.

These tests are not an accurate measure of a student’s success level, in college or in life. While there are studies proving this, I have my own experiences that have led me to the same conclusion.

As the name suggests, standardized tests are “standardized” and do not show an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. Someone very good at test-taking but without much common sense could get a high score, while another student who was too nervous to focus well might score much lower. The tests are also timed, and people work at different paces. Trying to measure intelligence, a quality that comes in many different forms, by giving students the exact same test, I feel is not very effective.

If you don’t plan to go to college, taking standardized tests serves very little purpose. Jobs that don’t require a university degree likely don’t care whether you received a 10 or a 33 on the ACT, and may have never heard of the Michigan Merit Exam. Even for those planning to go to college, the ACT and SAT often serve no purpose other than to get into a good school.

Beyond that, what does a test have to do with how well you can learn what a professor lectures you on, and how much work you’re likely to do in order to get good grades and learn?

Sitting in a room with 40 other students for four hours and taking a test, without getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle or doing anything after you’ve finished that section, is one of the most boring and yet stressful things I’ve ever done.

After hearing about the importance of “reading the question and filling in the correct bubble with a number two pencil” for the fifth time, I wanted to say that anyone hoping to go to college should be able to fill in a circle with pencil lead correctly.

Wasting time in class that could have been used for learning, to instead learn how to take a test, three days in a row, was certainly not my favorite thing to do. Hopefully, colleges, and society in general, will soon recognize that there are better ways to decide whether to admit a student to a university.

Until then, I’m glad to know I am a good test taker, especially since I plan to take the SAT in June. If I’m ever stuck in life, I hope I remember the lesson tests have taught me: The answer is always C.

Editor’s note: Maggie Guter, 16, is a junior at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in sailing, skiing and piano. Her parents are Jake Guter and Mary Doll of Marquette. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to.