Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: The Problem with Testing

Tests make me extremely anxious. I despise the idea that someone will judge me based on what I have memorized.

As a kid, I always feared being left behind, and this fear has manifested itself in many ways. Not being intellectually capable as my peers are is one of them.

So when I can’t perform well on a test because I can’t memorize the material, it really frustrates me. This has led me to believe that testing is all wrong! Tests are supposed to evaluate us, and how can they do so correctly if some people are at a disadvantage?

First of all, we shouldn’t be evaluated by what we know. Instead, we should be evaluated by what we can do, and what we are capable of thinking. It is a scary thought knowing that your future depends on one test. Why are people judged by what they know rather than what they are capable of doing?

Testing should be personalized for each student’s way of thinking. This is because most students can’t perform well when testing, and it’s not that they are slower than everyone else. It is because the implications of taking an exam psychologically strains the student and, as a result, they receive low test scores.

Testing also affects the manner in which the curriculum is taught. For example, if the aim is higher test scores the teacher may require students to memorize information, rather than actually teaching the student how to understand what is being taught. Also, some schools and teachers are even pressured to engage in fraudulent behavior to get the scores that are needed.

In addition, some tests have incredibly low passing rates that make it almost impossible to pass. This is distressing because of the significance tests have.

We shouldn’t get rid of all testing, the system should only be reformed. We can start by suiting the needs of the student, and by creating an exam that will test us on what we are capable of doing and understanding, rather than what we have memorized. Hopefully with these small changes, testing would be fair.