Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: Tests are Flawed

Tests are one of the most flawed things ever created by humanity. Students hate them and adults are misled by them. As an important metric used to judge the future of America, or any country for that matter, tests should be evaluated. Indeed, an evaluation of the evaluation process is in order. It must be examined whether tests are actually serving their intended purpose. That being said, what exactly is their intended purpose? Tests obviously are used as metrics, but for what?

There are different kinds of test. Obviously there is a difference between a basic vocabulary test, a history test, and the standardized tests students take. You don’t have to go far to see the flaw in a vocabulary test. The intended purpose is to have people expand their vocabulary and test to see if they know the material. Seems simple enough, right? Well, it’s not. As ideal as it seems, reality shows otherwise.

More often than not, it just leads students to memorize a group of words for the test and forgetting them the next day. With that in mind, it seems like these tests have failed the intended purpose to help students expand their vocabulary. To make things worse, most people know the flaw in vocabulary tests yet these types of tests are still being conducted. Something must be done.

History tests and math tests are slightly better. You actually have to learn something in history to excel at it. Memorization is still an issue of course. For example, it is not fair that Billy with picture perfect memory is deemed smarter than John who took more time to properly comprehend and analyze the material.

Such instances like these are based on genes and they’re just not fair. As for math, it is actually different. Memorizing formulas is part of it, but incorporating these formulas is what math is really about. Many issues exist in math tests, specifically, multiple choice tests. When it is possible to get a perfect score on a test with absolutely no preparation, there is a problem. Yes, it is rare but even having the possibility is absurd.

Even with all these flaws in mind, standardized tests continue to determine so much of one’s future, particularly when it comes to applying for college. What exactly do standardized tests measure? We are told they measure our test taking ability, which in actuality offers no practical skills in the real world. Even if it shows one’s strengths and weaknesses it isn’t going to change the fact that no one wants to hire a dispassionate doctor who is a great test taker. People should pursue what they want because that is where they would work best. Moreover, we should take the results of tests with a grain of salt.

Ultimately tests fail. While they are intended to measure specific things, they’re usually ill defined. In the end in the most important test of all, there are no grades. And that test is life! There will never be an alternative to learning from experience.

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