Why should a teacher’s pay be determined by a test? 

To the editor:

Standardized testing has become a menace to our educational system. These tests place unnecessary stress on teachers and students alike. Teachers are stressed because the scores students achieve may determine raises and future employment. Students are stressed to perform well for graduation and the college they want. 

As a recent graduate and current college student, I’ve seen the damage these tests have caused students. Many stay up late during the night before big tests, trying to memorize as much information as possible. This harms the students physically and mentally since they exhaust themselves for the test. My fellow students dread that they have to take yet another standardized test. 

People complain about scores achieved on state tests like ISTEP, which was recently renamed ILEARN, which is significantly different. The public doesn't approve scores and thus influences the state to change tests frequently. Standardized tests are manipulated, making it appear as though students are scoring higher. The SAT and ACT were created for poorer students to have access to quality higher education. Recent scandals surrounding SAT scores expose some privileged people cheating those scores, essentially buying their child a pass to college. 

Standardized testing steals time and resources away from Band, Choir, Art, and PE, while giving more to Math, Science, Language, and History. Many music departments fund their education plan themselves. Teachers are prevented from doing a lot of projects, which can help visual learners. 

I’ve spoken with teachers who are fed up because of this system of pushing excess information. They’d love to do activities they did as students, but aren’t able. Students will continue taking standardized tests yet have no way to apply to their daily life. Why are we stressing our students and teachers for a test that students will only remember as an unnecessary burden. Shouldn’t teachers be educating our children for the future? Why should a teacher’s pay be determined by a test? 

—Kenneth Fenneman

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