Standardized​ testing hinders students’ creativity



AP tests, the SAT, the ACT.

Standardized testing has become a looming cloud of despair that hangs over the heads of students K-12 and beyond. They are tests that determine a student’s intellectual ability and academic success for the next few years—all in a matter of hours.

But there is one metric that standardized tests fail to measure: creativity.

Although the humanities are fueled by students’ passion for creativity, they are surely not fueled by adequate funding. In fact, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences reported that “the government pays for well over 50 percent of the scientific research done in universities, and close to 75 percent in some disciplines. Meanwhile, the humanities are fronting all but 20 percent of their own costs.”

Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found “creativity has decreased among American children in recent years.

The real question is: where would society be without the creative minds that entertain it? Where would we be without artistic masterpieces adorning our walls, without gorgeous melodies filling our ears, without enthralling literature that fosters the minds of our youth?

Yet, all too often the necessity for creativity is overlooked. Students are taught how to take tests instead of how to think outside the box. Students who are engrossed in the humanities can create what was once pure imagination into a stunning reality, but could also seem undesirable to colleges due to low test scores.

Students who are passionate about mathematics and science can solve even the most complex of equations within seconds, but could also struggle to uniquely answer college admissions essays or scholarship prompt.

Of course, some students who can accomplish both. Some students who have a natural talent for creativity, but do not solve the epidemic that is tarnishing the inventiveness of the next generation.

Every child is born with the curiosity to discover and create new things. We have to harness this inquisitive spark so that whether the child decides to become a doctor, a software developer or a musician, they can unearth discoveries far beyond our imagination.

In order to do this, we must put an end to rapidly declining creativity scores and provide students with increased access to funding for clubs, scholarships and research that also favor the humanities.

STEM programs are, without a doubt, important to our development, but the creativity instilled in the arts has also assisted us in developing beautifully diverse cultures, and the significance of that should not remain unseen, both in or out of the classroom.

Instead of teaching students how to take a test, we should teach them why taking standardized tests can be a ridiculous method of measuring intelligence. Standardized tests provide no information on a student’s development past surface-level textbook facts because it lacks a metric with which to measure creativity. This aspect of education gauges not just intellectual capabilities, but the ability of a student to reach their full potential with a visionary mind and an ingenious spirit.



Claire Tufty is a freshman communication studies major from Sioux Falls, S.D.


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