Standardized test scores lowest in years

Drastic decrease in recent scores


Lex Lee

Junior Santiago Cabral takes a test for class on Nov. 3. Standarized testing scores have been at a historical low.

Maya Nieves

In the past few years, Minnesota’s standardized test scores have decreased by a noticeable amount. Many such as Parks testing coordinator, and students such as Coco Bruin suspect this is a result of COVID-19 and a result of the recent “opt out” option for these tests. With learning back in person, the scores are expected to go up again in the next few years. 

Junior Coco Bruin, said that after taking standardized tests last spring, she believes that quarantine has impacted results.

“I definitely think the scores dropping is a result of COVID(-19),” Bruin said. “Quarantine got us all in the mentality that we could all just cheat our way through school. Being at home got us in a no work mentality that can be hard to get out of.”

While COVID-19 has played a big role in the recent scores dropping, there have been many students opting out of taking standardized tests. Rebecca Starr, Parks district assessment coordinator, said that when calculating school scores, the kids who opt out are still counted in the overall scores, which can cause the district’s scores to seem lower than reality.

“The Minnesota Department of Education calculates it by the number of students who are proficient over the total number of students who are eligible for the test,” Starr said. “Park has a much higher opt out rate than schools around us, anywhere from 33 to 68 percent opted out, which makes our proficiency scores look 12 to 15 percent lower than they really are.”

Bruin said although she hasn’t opted out of a test, she finds the concept of standardized testing to be problematic and the ability to opt-out is important for students.

“I haven’t used the opt out option because my parents make me take the tests, but I definitely support it,” Bruin said. “Opting out could be a major way to reduce stress in your life, it’s really just a good option to have.”

Senior Gwendelyn Rockler-Gladen said that the PSAT and ACT can be stressful and opting out could be the right choice for some, but taking these tests can also prove to be beneficial. 

“It’s nice to not have that kind of stress, but for things like the PSAT or the ACT where if you do well it can open opportunities for you, it can be a good idea to take those just in case,” Rockler-Gladen said. “But if (the tests) are just something that’s going to stress you out and you know it’s not going to help you in any way, then opting out would make sense.”