A Poem on the Ravages of Standardised Tests

A US high school student takes issue with standardised tests.

Hello my name is worthless

Name number and date

State your class and hour

Let the rubric pick your fate

Your value as a human

Can be measured by percent

All that matters is the value

That the numbers represent

We promise that you matter

You’re more than just a grade

But you better score one hundred

Or else you won’t get paid

They require our attendance

We’re brain dead taking notes

So we can barf back up the knowledge

That they shove down our throats

Each human life is precious

And every childhood has worth

But if you fill in the wrong bubbles

Then you don’t belong on earth

They question our depression

They wonder why we’re stressed

When our futures are decided

Doing better on a test

They tell me that I’m gifted

That there’s no need to despair

But if you only read the numbers

I’m a living waste of air

I might think I have talents

But there’s no worth in art

Because it can’t be measured

By a number on a chart

The people say I’m flying

The numbers say I’ll crash

My letter grades ‘ll prove it

I’m worthless human trash

They use standardized procedures

To find the worth of kids

But I don’t fit in boxes

Without spilling out the lids

Some kids don’t fit the system

But differences can’t stay

They put us in the garbage

And throw it all away

This poem was written by a US high school student and originally published on Diane Ravitch’s blog.

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