State assessments shouldn’t be required

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

As the end of the school year approaches, Manhattan High students have only a few tasks left, one of which is something they all dread: state assessments.

Because COVID-19 put limits on the first semester, State Assessments were not required of students to complete. However, the Kansas Department of Education is again requiring students to do them this semester, in part to compare learning statistics to previous years. The Mentor Editorial Board agrees that state testing should not be a requirement now, as we are not far enough along in resolving the COVID-19 issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made learning more difficult than ever, making students struggle to obtain their higher grade point average. As many students started the first semester attending the hybrid schedule, it made learning certain content less achievable. It seems like since MHS went back to full-time in the second semester, that’s when they started learning, so they’ve only been learning for four months. Making students complete state assessments is unreasonable, especially this year.

There are some weaknesses that state testing had even before COVID-19 came around. One of the weaknesses is that state testing is to see if teachers are teaching the content that they are supposed to cover throughout the year. This isn’t a great way to see if the teachers have done a good job because some students learn differently than others and may not benefit from the way teachers teach. Some students may also have learning disadvantages or bad test anxiety and may do terrible on state testing but perform really well in the class.

Another weakness about state testing is that it not only is provided to compare the learning progress of students in individual schools, but it also helps the school out. It helps the school by (you guessed it) school funding. State testing was introduced in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until a little more recently that it helped with school funding, said

Furthermore, those who attend Manhattan High virtually have an option that full-time students do not: the online students have the option to take state assessments or not. The option to opt out given to the remote students isn’t fair to anyone who attends full-time. If the State thinks that the remote kids should have the option to not participate in taking state assessments, then so should all other students attending MHS in-person

State testing not only shouldn’t be required in COVID-19, but shouldn’t be required in general. College admissions do not look at the individual test scores of students nor what the scores are of each school so it doesn’t help anyone out in that department. Starting with elementary schools, teachers stress over how important it is to do well on State Assessments, even though it doesn’t affect students’ grades or how they do over the course of the school year.

The pandemic has given education the opportunity to drop state assessments once and for all. The State Department of Education should seize the opportunity to move away from standardized testing.