Standardized testing should include HistoryTuesday, April 17, 2012 By Amanda Ekdahl
We stress out over standard testing for math, we stress over science and we stress over language arts. The standardized test we don’t have to stress out over is history. There are four subjects that are considered core classes: language arts, math, science and history, and we are tested on all but one of them. If the state and nation go through the trouble to create and administer standardized tests for three of the core subjects, then what is stopping them from doing the same for history? I understand history is not every student’s favorite class, but the same could be said for each of the other three subjects and disliking a subject is not a valid reason for leaving it out of testing season. Standardized tests are used throughout the nation to measure student knowledge of a certain subject compared to others. If the people creating these tests don’t include history in this plethora of knowledge does that mean they don’t believe it is important enough to be measured? Probably. But why? There are many people who believe there is no need to test on history; they think it is simply a class requirement nothing more. But the truth is that there are many skills history teaches students besides dates and events that deserve to be recognized. “The history classes… we feel kind of left out since our subject isn’t tested on like the others,” said Suzanne Wooton, a history teacher. Math and science teachers tell students all the time that the reason we take standards tests on their subject is because it measures our ability to “think logically” and “discover experimentally.” If this is true and the subject matter itself is not the most important thing, then testing history should be top priority for teachers and administrators. Besides the obvious, like dates, events and important people, there are many skills that history teaches students that every other subject doesn’t. Skills like: deduction, creative problem solving, memory application, global connection, impact recognition and many more that can help students in fields of study other than just history. Analyzing parts of history can help students analyze parts of any piece of any subject; the process of historical analysis and others are basically the same. Analysis is probably the most important skill taught by history and is worthy of being tested. Also, history is a part of who we are as a people and a civilization. We would be nothing without a history, it makes us who we are and if students put any kind of value on that fact it would make history less of a burden. When I find out I have to test on a certain subject, even one I don’t particularly enjoy, I put more effort into it. If history was tested upon on a regular basis like math, science and English, then students would appreciate the subject matter more. This is important because if students grow up not knowing or understanding what happened in the past, the future cannot be as bright. If students don’t recognize mistakes made in the past, odds are they will make those mistakes again in their lifetime. I’m not saying that we should be handed a test with a bunch of dates on it, who has time to memorize a timeline of World History? But students need to give value to the skills taught by history and the events that shaped it. Including the subject in the testing season will force more students to put more effort and more esteem into this subject.