Does standardized testing really measure intelligence?

Standardized tests are made to measure a student’s intelligence; however, a person’s intelligence should not be determined by how well they can score on a test.

There are many factors that can go into a negative test score, one of the main ones being testing anxiety. Tests bring out anxiety in even the best students. A student under a lot of stress won’t be able to perform at their best. 

A test score cannot produce an accurate reading of educational achievement. Tests can’t measure even a portion of education and the intelligence inside of a student. 

Some of the most overlooked intelligence is some of the most important, for example, imagination and creativity. These are the things that tests cannot measure, and I’m positive that most parents want their children to grow up with these qualities. Most of these cannot be taught from a textbook; they can however be exemplified by the teacher, or students can be taught about others who modeled these qualities instead of trying to cram information into their student’s heads about how to pass a test on quadratic formulas. 

If a student scores low on a standardized test, this can lead to increased pressure from parents and friends to do better or be “smarter.” Most of the time, this can lead to students who resent learning because they have been told they are worse than everyone else just because of a lower score. 

Standardized tests do not take into account the different qualities that are unique such as home life or mental health. Believe it or not, everyone is different, and not everyone has the same opportunities or ability to study and get the extra help that others do. 

Standardized tests don’t show intelligence. The only thing they show is how well a student can memorize or cram information in which they all probably forgot as fast as they learned it. Preparing for a test can take away from actual learning, especially when there is pressure from the teacher to focus more on the test and memorization than learning the actual material. 

A 2001 study by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-to-year test score improvements were only temporary and “caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.”

In March of 2020, almost 1,000 of the 2,300 private and public colleges and universities offered students the option to apply to their schools without submitting SAT or ACT scores, and several operated as “test blind,” where all applicants were reviewed without testing results. According to FairTest almost 1,700, or two-thirds of colleges and universities as of October 2020 are running with some form of the test-blind policy.

Standardized tests are hard on not just the students but the teachers as well. Why are we putting so much time and effort into something that is going to hurt us more than help us?