Students Are Not Scores

The Story of One Student Who Boycotted the Test

By Mia Kang


As a freshman in high school, I refused to take my state’s required standardized test, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS test. I felt that most of my time in school was spent memorizing facts. I saw students bored by doing worksheets instead of creative projects and teachers limited by strict test score requirements.

It seemed to me that standardized testing was the driving force behind the problems that I saw, and in response, I boycotted the TAKS. In Texas the TAKS test is required for graduation from high school. In refusing to take the test I understood that I would not receive a diploma at the end of my twelfth grade year. I left high school early and attended a community college where I earned high school and college credit at the same time.

Boycotting the test risked my diploma, but I believed it was the right thing to do. I have been in contact with two other students who took similar action and did not graduate, but who are now attending college anyway. While I chose to act by not taking the TAKS, there are infinite ways for students to speak out and work to improve the education system.

What do you want from your education? What can you do in your school to create change — even just within one classroom? Immense potential lies in the fact that students are not scores — we are thinking individuals.

Beginning within our own communities we can create simple ways to improve our schools that will build toward new visions for education across the country.

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Mia Kang, 17, is from San Antonio, Texas.

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