Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: How beneficial is testing?

Testing — just the thought of hearing that word makes us hate it because we know that we might be trying to cram everything in the night before.

Students see testing as a teacher’s way to see if we actually learned anything throughout the lesson. When we think of tests we think primarily of our English and math classes because those are the classes where we get tested the most. Being a junior and taking an AP class has made me realize that I for one have had nothing but tests, whether it be taking the AP exam or taking the gruesome three and a half hour long SAT.

We normally see testing as being such a drag because most of the time it takes either half or the whole period.  It had recently come to my attention that a school in Finland has eliminated the use for testing because it has the ability to cause the children great stress.  Keep in mind that schools in Finland along with other countries in Europe have also gotten rid of the use of homework. It soon crossed my mind, what is the point of us taking tests if we just spend more time learning than observing and hopefully passing tests that determine our grade and maybe future?

Why is it that we are tested on what we have learned, yet if we fail we still carry on to the next segment of our class course?  Standardized testing is more of a hollow ground because it does not focus on the students as much as it should. The AP English Language exam for example, it tests kids on multiple choice and makes them write three essays about various subjects. Although, it is meant to help the students, most of them feel as if they failed because there was a question or two on the essay section that they could not fully comprehend. This causes for them to be stressed out and sometimes cry over the fact that they will most likely not be receiving the score that the were shooting for.

As odd as it sounds testing does have its benefits such as making the school look better, improving statistics in our country, or even showing on how outstanding a student is. Yet there are kids who are extremely smart, however do no have the ability to show it because the test specifies for us to only show those particular set of skills. Ultimately, testing does help improve school statistics, but they do not help prove that there are some kids who are just as smart as other, but just because they messed up on one question, they can’t make it to the school of their choice.