Media emphasis on test scores is harmful

Priyanka Zylstra, South Senior

Letter to the Editor,

I felt uncomfortable reading articles from the Southerner and on the MPS website regarding standardized testing. Recently, the impressive perfect ACT score of a South student has been praised, and it should be. However, I feel it was handled in a way that is ultimately harmful for the majority of Minneapolis students.

We can see the harmful emphasis on testing particularly in primary education. Schools are evaluated on how students perform on standardized testing, and these evaluations influence school closures, which correlate to specific socio-economic classes and communities of color.

No student can deny the immense pressure to perform well on standardized tests. Yet, standardized tests require a very specific skill set that most students do not have. Lacking these specific skill sets does not imply anything about intelligence. Standardized testing is a flawed form of evaluation and does not adequately gauge any individual’s intellectual level. How can four hours on a Saturday morning capture the complexity of someone’s intelligence?

That being said, perfect scores on the ACT are very exciting and deserve celebration, but perhaps on a smaller scale. The articles regarding this “success at South” only further perpetuates the skewed emphasis on testing and increases the notion that worth is determined by test score. It is time for us to assess what messages we are sending Minneapolis students.


Priyanka Zylstra

South Senior