AP Students Suffer from Post-Standardized Assessment/Test Disorder

December 2,2005, Special Reporter: Calibur Kiss

For the last few decades now, parents and teachers alike have been familiar with the common spreads of infection in their sons, daughters, and students throughout the school year in regard to the SAT virus, also known as the Suicidal, Anal-Retentive, and Temperamental Disorder. Professors were accustomed to small breakouts of rutynexamiosis (roo-teen-exam-ee-oh-sis) around test dates, as well as lostsochulifia (lost-so-shul-life-ee-ah) during midterms and finals. This was nothing out of the norm, though, according to high school professor Mark Inghred. "For years," he stated, "students have suffered these minor examination ailments. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. And certainly no long term damage is inflicted."

In the last few years, however, scientists have discovered a skyrocketing epidemic of what they now call "post-standardized assessment-test disorder." Around May of last year, scientists at the Laboratory for the Study of Gifted and Socially Inactive High School Students investigated the lives of over one million teens taking advanced placement courses (and their respective examinations) across the country. The scientists were flabbergasted by the results.

"We were shocked," said Dr. Polonium of the laboratory's branch, the Research Institute for Caffeine-Dependent Teens. "The symptoms of some of these students were overwhelming. We observed the most unusual behaviors in them, including sporadic convulsing after four to five hours of flash cards, interminable eye scrolling after long periods of dry textual readings, incoherent mutterings during late nights of homework, and uncontrollable shaking and laughter when suggested to relax."

"Even more astonishing," continued Dr. Polonium, "were the physical reactions these students had once finishing their most important educational assessments. Most students possessed a discernible glaze over their eyes after taking long examinations, as well as involuntary hand twitching, bruised fingers (precisely in the location where the index finger meets the thumb, so as to hold a pencil), and decidedly unusual brain wave patterns during college board, scholastic aptitude, and state assessment tests. It is obvious to my fellow scientists and I that something is causing these students to experience these specific reactions. The problem now is finding the cause of this disorder and preventing the disease from spreading."

But what is the cause? A number of adolescents are blaming the rising growth in standardized tests administered to determine their futures.

"I was told by my counselor once," said Alyssa Smart, "that if I scored under 2000 on my SAT, the apocalypse would crash down on earth and directly consume me in a glowing flame of hellish, scantron-correcting, computerized light."

Oliver A. Chiever concurs. After gulping down his fifth venti Starbucks black coffee, Chiever managed to chatter, "I haven't slept in four months because I want to be the best in the entire country. I think by eliminating my current two daily meals and bathroom breaks, I might be able to score the previously unfathomable six on my AP Comparative English Literature/Chinese Philosophy/Nuclear Chemistry exam."

While scientists blame the reactions of students like Chiever and Smart on the over-emphasis on national test scores in today's culture, prestigious colleges and their administrators say the tests are here to stay. With a growing number of colleges depending on these exams for leveling the prospective value of admitting students to their collective bodies, it seems standardized tests are unavoidable. Dr. Rubidium of Academic University stated, "Without these tests, our students couldn't be compared to one another on a single, national scale, never mind an international one. We need to start expanding, not consolidating, on our standardized examinations. Most of our students have no chance of competing with some of the current teenage prodigies in Japan."

Test-taking mania has even started to nibble away at the foundations of even the most intellectual Japanese scholars as well, though. When not studying, these students are exposed daily to flashing, fast-moving anime cartoons and video games that permanently affect their brain wave patterns, expanding the dilation of their pupils to unusual proportions as well as provoking them into long stretches of uninterrupted, irregular twitching. Recently, it has been suggested that the need for these students to possess these forms of entertainment stems from their desires to escape massive workloads at school.

Many people, as well as students, disregard the effects of PSAT disorder, though. "If she doesn't score a 4 or higher on all her AP exams," said Mrs. Smart, Alyssa Smart's mother, "she won't be long for life in this world. I'm not paying for her college. I don't care if she suffers permanent brain damage; she'll be the best… or else!"

So, who is to blame in this recent pattern of student, possibly test-related illnesses? Are the colleges responsible for placing too much pressure on our young people, or is this disease a result of poor research with inconclusive results? Until further studies are drawn, students will simply have to suffer through their examinations, tests, finals, quizzes, inspections, analyses, assessments, quizzicals, quests, and twizzlers. Buy another coffee, Chiever. You'll need it.