Tests Taking Over the Gradebook

Tests Taking Over the Gradebook

It’s a discussion heard by all students: Was the test hard? What else should I study? Even among the smartest of students, standardized tests are their biggest worries.

It is often found that students see their overall grades dropping a considerable amount due to one test grade that didn’t fall within the average of their other grades. Should this be allowed? Should a smart student be overshadowed by a good test taker? 

In 2015, a survey was conducted in which around 76 percent of psychologists from over 600 school districts in New York claimed that state tests caused more anxiety than local tests. The same year, 80 percent of New York students chose not to take standardized tests. 

There are many factors that contribute to a student’s performance on a test. Stress is one of the major factors. In order for students to do well on tests, they need to stay calm and focused. But how can they do that when they are stressed about getting a good grade and not failing? Maybe if tests were not used as the main reflection of a student’s grade, they would not worry as much about getting a hundred and would focus more on participating in class and putting effort into their homework.

Nevertheless, if the weight of tests is lowered, students may put zero effort into taking tests. Although this can be true for some students, it is more important for the students to truly understand what they are learning, which they could do when they aren’t mainly focused on their grades. 

Many students have to juggle honors classes, AP classes, after school sports, clubs and even out of school activities, which piles on even more stress. This also leads students having no time to spend with their families and friends, thus having a negative effect on their social lives because they’re so busy studying topics that they are likely to forget after taking tests. Many are losing opportunities to make friends and form bonds with people since they spend hours in the books. 

Standardized testing has proven to have many negative effects on overall grades. A student’s intelligence cannot be measured by only testing specific points of their education in core classes, due to the fact that students can excel in classes that are more artistic and musical compared to a book focused class. The specific structure of testing also significantly lessens the creativity of students.

Despite the many cons of standardized testing, various pros may be noted. One of the pros is that testing may be used as a metric for learning. A student’s test scores can be taken and compared to the scores of other students across the United States and even across the world. Also, with standardized testing, areas may be pinpointed in which students need improvement. This can be seen when comparing the scores and incorrect answers of students within the same school. 

Although standardized testing comes with a number of pros, what is more important is finding a way to measure the true intelligence of a student, and ensuring that students are mentally healthy without being negatively impacted by tests.

Standardized testing has evidently led to anxiety and stress in students. A student should not be measured by testing specific points, but rather how they perform in class, and by ensuring they have an overall understanding of the subject being taught.