How Does Standardized Testing Negatively Affect Students?

To know how does standardized testing negatively affect students…read on this article…!

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid”. The metaphorical fish in Einstein’s statement can be likened to a student who is judged by the same standards as a bird. Water is the natural habitat of a fish, but if the fish’s mentors, parents, government, and the fish insist that the fish should fly, the fish will either die or get badly injured. 

How Does Standardized Testing Negatively Affect Students?

How does standardized testing negatively affect students?

Standardized tests use the same criteria to test for mastery in subjects but ignore the individual student’s uniqueness, giftings, and skills. Standardized testing can negatively affect students by causing low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, inability to find expression, and sadness. Many students have to graduate from school to discover themselves as the criteria of standardized tests do not allow them to explore their hidden talents. 

What Are Standardized Testing?

A Standardized test is administered and scored using a consistent pattern in a particular region or country. Standardized test tests for mastery of a specific concept like the IELTS tests for proficiency in the English language and the SATs for how well students can apply their knowledge to real-life situations. 

Some standardized tests include: 

  • ACT (American College Testing)
  • AP (Advanced Placement)
  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Testing)
  • IQ tests (Intelligence quotient tests)

And more. 

These tests determine the number of things in our world today, including job placements, school promotions, emotional and behavioral analysis, and others. 

Adverse Effects Of Standardized Tests On Students

 1. Standardized test fails to prioritize the needs of every student

Education is incomplete if the need of every student is not considered. Special needs students should not be subjected to the same exam conditions as the typical students. 

Students with dyslexia have challenges putting words together; they may find reading questions in the examination hall challenging. If they are stopped simultaneously like other students, they will struggle to pass the exam excellently. Students with dyscalculia have issues with calculation; they need more time to write their examination, and they shouldn’t be assessed using the same criteria as the typical student. 

2.Stress and anxiety 

 Exams cause stress and anxiety in students; many students tend to fall sick or throw up. Pre-exam anxiety affects their performance negatively. Suppose the examination governing body does not consider this set of students. In that case, they perform poorly in tests and think they cannot amount to anything, and eventually drop out of school.

3. Students study to cram for exams 

Standardized tests leave students at the mercy of cramming past questions and class notes. Students do not necessarily know concepts. They have to cram, walk into the examination hall, and repeat what they have in their class notes. And after the exam, they forget everything about the semester and all they learned.  

With standardized testing, education is not complete because there is little or no change in behavior. Examinations are survival of the fittest, a battle of those who can cram instead of those who cannot. To avoid being called stupid, students are at the mercy of cramming. 

4. Eliminates creativity 

Standardized tests eliminate creativity in learning. Students do not put effort into knowing more than what the teacher teaches in class. They read to pass exams, and every other embedded talent in them is ignored. Because they have to study for exams, the ability to carry out research is also lost because students know that all they have to do is give back what is in their notes and recommended textbooks. 

Educational psychology says teachers should teach students according to their learning style. However, standardized tests ignore this concept and give exams based on the standard criteria; hence, creativity cannot be expressed in the examination hall because there are even guidelines for answering questions. Students become more engrossed in passing their exams and do not acquire life skills needed to survive in the world from the school curriculum. 

5. Low self-esteem 

Standardized test leads to low self-esteem, especially in students who do not necessarily understand concepts on time. It becomes challenging for them to write exams and pass like every other student. Therefore, they are labeled unintelligent and stupid in class and take extra courses to meet requirements. Low Self-esteem comes from when the students in class refuse to associate with the average student because they see them as “unintelligent.” Standardized testing forgets that a student who is not very good at mathematics can be skilled in music. Why do they have to struggle with students who are proficient at math? 

Students should be tested based on their strengths and not their weaknesses. Students should not feel less because they are not very good at mathematics and English. Low self-esteem resulting from standardized testing can lead to depression, drug abuse, dropping out of school, and possibly suicide.


As much as standardized testing tests for proficiency in concepts, examination bodies should consider every student. All students should have the opportunity to express themselves comfortably. Standardized testing should consider every student’s unique talents, giftings, and abilities. The world is changing, and standardized testing should change too. Schools should focus on building skills needed for survival in the world today, and students should be tested based on the skills they have chosen.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do standardized tests affect mental health? Standardized testing increases anxiety and stress levels in students. Students who have failed in the previous semesters face intense pressure to pass well in the new semester. Increased stress levels can lead to a breakdown in mental state, and students may adopt drugs to cope with that situation. 
  1. What are the adverse effects of testing? 

The adverse effects of standardized testing include:

  • Low self-esteem 
  • Forgetfulness in the examination hall
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Students are tested based on a few concepts 
  • Teachers teach students to pass and not to understand.  
  1. Why is standardized test unfair?

Standardized tests do not necessarily test for proficiency in subjects. It assesses head knowledge and a student’s ability to cram their notes. It is unfair to students who do not know how to cram their textbooks. It is also unjust for exceptional students who may need more time to complete their tests.