Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 4-8-2021


As the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Act of 2001 enforced frequent standardized testing, the US Department of Education established a curriculum centered around drilling test material to meet nationwide requirements. Consequently, students are still offered a limited education, encouraging skills like memorization and quick thinking to be reflected in their scores. Particularly in writing, these tests and timed assignments stifle creativity, as they leave little room for students to be thoughtful and critical in their responses. Standardized tests lead both teachers and students to forget the purpose of writing as a tool for authentic expression and individuality. Furthermore, the focus on standard five-paragraph essays causes a disconnect between secondary curriculum and post-secondary writing expectations. Apart from testing, the flawed grading system within high school English education insists on quantifying a subject that instead should rely on feedback from teachers and peers. Throughout this paper, we will look at multiple experiences of educators and students to determine what is lacking in secondary English curriculum, how those missing skills impact students’ writing endeavors in and beyond college composition, and how we can implement small solutions in the classroom to create curious learners.



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