The CS Press

Tests

Julia Knies, Opinion Editor

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Between preschool and senior year, the average American student in the public school system takes about 112 standardized tests, according to the Washington Post. Causing stress and other problems in students, tests are not an efficient or effective way to tell how intelligent someone is.

Not many people like taking tests-they are stressful, nerve-wracking, and sometimes, if answers are given, they do not make any sense. Of course almost everyone gets a bit nervous for a test, but there are many students who have major anxiety during and do not test well. Though they may know all of the information, during the test they may completely forget all of it.

Tests not only put students under a lot of pressure, but since tests can affect the students future, they may do anything to pass. If students don’t feel like they know the content of the test well enough, they may resort to cheating, using performance drugs- like Ritalin or Adderall without a prescription, and other things. While not every student will do that, tests do not accurately represent the intelligence of the student body if some are.

Many tests do not even measure how well a student knows the information they were taught but is based on memorization. As soon as the test is over, students will forget most of the information they had to memorize to pass it. It is a waste of time for students to sit everyday, attempting to learn something to be tested on it, then forget it soon after.

Some may argue that tests are the best way to measure how smart a person is, but there is only so much someone information someone can hold, especially students with developing minds. In the late 1800s, a German psychologist by the name of Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the forgetting curve. The forgetting curve is an exponential decay showing how quickly someone forgets something after they learn it. After less than a week, a person will only recall about 25 percent of what they learned, if they do not review the information. Revising does help, but after the whole school year, there is a lot of information for a student to consistently review.

Source: TrainingIndustry.com

There are many ways for students to learn and not take tests. It is not necessary for school to involve. An alternative to the public schooling system and the tests is the Montessori way of learning. Used for over 100 years, the learning style focuses on encouraging children to want to learn by letting them explore things on their own and work at their own pace. It encourages the human tendency to want to learn and be creative. Currently, Montessori schools are most common for younger kids and not so much for high schools, but public schools can and should consider implementing Montessori strategies into the learning plans of students.

Schools may encourage standardized testing because it is a way for them to receive more money. If a school tests well and receives high scores, the government will give them a higher budget. While many schools are battling with a shortage of money, it is not ethically right for a child’s ability to recall information to be used to determine how much money the government gives them. Students testing low is not something any school wants, but they should not be dependent on the students.

The amount of tests given throughout a student’s life should decrease and the time used for them should be used instead to effectively teach a student the information.

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