Are the Regents causing more stress to students?

Laci Waters, Reporter

Many stressful factors go into the significance of a child’s education, but how stressful is too stressful? The New York State Education Department spends many hours planning lessons for students learning the New York State curriculum. These lessons are essential to pass the New York State Regent Exams. The state and school’s drive for learning has changed to getting a high number grade on tests determining if you could graduate or not rather than being worried about kids learning life skills to be successful in the world. 

The school has become a major source of stress and anxiety to high school kids due to the pressures of doing well on state-mandated exams. Many believe that it is not fair to base their entire school year based on one test. Commonly, kids do well throughout the year but once it’s time to take the regents, they choke from nerves and receive a lousy grade. Students worry about these exams all year long, anticipating the worst outcome. I believe it is more useful for kids to learn useful skills for the real world. These tests contain all of the material learned throughout the whole school year. Preparing for the exam creates more stress on students with the expectation of teachers for knowing the whole curriculum. But if students do well throughout the year and pass the course, why test them? Although it helps colleges evaluate students’ strengths and weaknesses some consider it a waste of time. These tests are an evident factor of how some of the Boards of Education doesn’t care about the mental well-being of their students, yet only the number on a sheet of paper. 

Every child is smart with their strengths and weaknesses, yet these tests show the exact opposite. If a student gets a bad grade, it results in nothing more than bringing down their self-esteem and throwing away all their hard work put into their entire school year. The New York State pays no attention to the reasons kids might not do well on the test. Some of the causes of a lousy score would be if the student had a stressful week, are bad test takers, or even have high test anxiety. Colleges should not judge students based on their test scores but rather their in-class performance and GPA, it is purely more efficient.

Students’ feelings toward school are highly affected by these tests. Students aren’t worrying about their high school experience anymore, but are more worried about proving themselves to teachers with high grades as it is expected of them. With all the stress created by standardized tests, there is no room in a student’s life to enjoy their time in high school. Kids spend months stressing and preparing for a three-hour test which seems like one-hour that determines so much.

The 2021 school year has been filled with unexpected turns, outcomes, modifications, and closures. New York State tried to get a confirmation by the president to cancel the regents in favor of the students who tried to adapt to the new circumstances that school has become during the pandemic of Covid-19. Unfortunately, the state’s request was denied and president Biden is requiring some state standardized tests to be administered, creating more stress on students. Even after schools having to close, students having to quarantine, and students becoming virtual. However some schools chose to be hybrid to ensure the safety of their students during a fatal pandemic, yet a number grade is still more important. This decision proves that the United States Department of Education is more concerned with a score on a paper than the safety and mental wellbeing of the kids and the teachers. It doesn’t take state-mandated testing to prove that students did not learn as much as they have in previous years. The consensus of students agrees that this decision by the Department of Education proves that the feelings and well-being of students are not being considered at all.