Right off the bat as soon as we’re born, we’re signed on to numbers which coherently dictate our worth and value in modern day life. 

Since the first grade we’re always urged to attain the highest scores and to achieve perfection throughout our academic lives. All of which are flawed concepts that’re simply highly unattainable.

As toxic, as these mindsets have proven themselves to be, time and time again. They still very much exist amidst our cultures and societies and in particular amidst the concept of standardized testing. 

The term in its current full capacity of the meaning, was first recorded to be used as early as 1908, as a mean of comprehensive examinations at Columbia University; dedicated for only 5 scholastic subjects: arithmetic, handwriting, spelling, reading & language ability. Fully exclusive of any non-logical subjects. It’s been well over 100 years since the idea of the term was brought to life and yet we continue on using the same approaches and techniques as they were referred to and used, when the notion first surfaced. Despite the fact, that the human race has hypothetically evolved in almost every other life aspect.

No progress was made as to define the actual relativity of these tests and how crucial they’re in the lives of coming of age individuals. In fact, there are one too many researches out there deeming these examinations to be utterly worthless… for good reason too.

As a teenager who’s trying to find their purpose in this world and where they fit in best, the least of their concerns would be to ace their tests. Not just one test, but a surplus of them.And although tests are of extreme importance in certain educational corners, such as if you were to become a doctor or an engineer, solidified information is an absolute must. However, even though that may be true, not everyone was born to become part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) community. There are so many creatives out there, who experience depletion and misery throughout their educational lives. Their perception of the world, is unrepresented and undervalued. Thus, making it less likely for them to have the will to perfect their grades, when they relate such negative experiences to the educative scene.

Aside from that, even for STEM acquainted students, these standardized tests do more harm than good. The mere idea, that they’re required to continuously undergo the stress of these examinations for an average of 12 years of their lives (excluding University work load) and being fully aware how these grades impact the quality of life they’ll have further down the road, emphasizes how useless these quizzes are, because they don’t ever truly educate you. Sure you know Pythagoras’ theorem and how the digestive system works, but what about taxes and mortgages and debts and finding accommodation post school and unraveling your true passions. What about anything that truly matters in life? That gives life meaning?

All of that makes teens globally less inclined to actually want to learn, instead they study. They memorize information necessary for them to pass the exam and later have a fun little brain dump. Other times, they resort to cheating or even substance abuse to help them focus, or concentrate, as the work load is too much to handle.

Others who suffer from ADHD (a very common, often neglected, mental illness amongst developing teenagers) struggle to keep up and feel as though they’re failures, because of that. Acting more and more of a trigger to avoid studying at all costs, to maintain their sense of self-confidence & worth, outside of the classroom.

And it’s not only about the students, teachers nowadays also rarely care about their quality of teaching anymore either, because the grades their students get determines their eligibility as an educator. So they cut corners, and dump more workload onto their students’ lap, to ensure that their syllabus is engraved & cemented into the minds of the youth.

What a toll that takes on ones’ soul.

Just remember that you’re far more than grades on a paper.

Humans have so much more substance to them than numbers and statistics. 

Make sure you engrave that in the back of your mind. 

Written by: Mia Malak

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