Standardized Tests Affect Student Stress


Micah Mayr, Reporter

High school is an incredibly significant developmental stage in one’s life. It’s a time of growth, not only in knowledge, but also in friends, relationships, and plans for the future. There is an immense amount of pressure felt by American students throughout their high school years. One of the biggest contributors to this pressure is standardized testing, including the SAT, ACT, AP exams, and SOLS. 

According to  “Public School Review,” nearly 100 million standardized tests are administered every year. Over the years, this process has gained significance, and students feel strained to perform well.  

According to an abstract on a study written about the stress found in kindergartners, it was found that stress-related behaviors increased during testing. These behaviors decreased as soon as the kindergarteners were removed from the testing environment. The researchers found that the kindergarteners answered incorrectly during the test, but after the test during an interview were able to answer correctly. An anonymous student at RCHS was asked about the stress,

 “I used to really struggle with test anxiety last year. I obsessed over getting a perfect score, to my own detriment. I remember worrying about my test scores so much that I would get stomach pains.”

Stress seen in the life of students has also been shown to mess with many students’ sleeping patterns. Many students spend their nights studying and reviewing for the next day of school, but after the studying stops the stress doesn’t. According to a study done by Northwestern University,Sleep is also a stress-sensitive system. Perceived stressors contribute  to changes in both sleep quantity and quality”  

Junior Katherine Lotts talked about her sleep schedule and how it has been affected by stress from standardized testing.

“Often after spending most of my night studying I try to rest but can’t. I find myself so anxious about the test I can’t sleep, and when I do I end up dreaming of all the ways the test may go poorly.” 

There is no doubt that students are dealing with an immense amount of stress and anxiety from standardized tests. So the question arises: Are standardized tests a healthy practice in measuring students’ aptitudes?