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Exams are testing our patience

SAT. | 12-11-21 | OPINION

     Standardized testing is something that all students dread. Exam week is one of the most stressful parts of being in school. Some students don’t know where to go; some are just afraid of failing. With all of these factors, I believe that standardized testing is an unfair representation of students’ achievement. 

     Firstly, many students have testing anxiety. Testing anxiety is when someone gets nervous about taking a test. Testing anxiety can lead to students not doing their best on a test. When people get anxious about a test they often cannot focus on the task at hand. Testing anxiety can also lead to more serious things like panic attacks. Having a panic attack can lead to students not being able to finish a test. Not taking testing anxiety into account is unfair to those students suffering from this. A student that has done outstanding work in their class could completely bomb a test due to them being anxious. 

     Most standardized testing is a one-time option. If a student has testing anxiety one day they cannot take a makeup test later. One bad day is supposed to reflect how well a student has done throughout an entire class. To tell a student their worth in a class is defined by one day is completely unfair. Not only does this discredit the students coursework; it also increases testing anxiety. This will in turn lower scores overall. If there was a redo option to standardized testing then it would take the weight off of the testing. This could reduce the amount of testing anxiety and increase the overall scores.

     Standardized testing also limits teachers in what they can teach. To truly prepare a class for an exam, teachers have to teach students how to take their respective exam, not actual content. While content does go into the exam, every exam is formatted differently. Teachers have to give practice exam after practice exam to prepare their students. This could cause students to miss out on important information. Implementing teacher-made exams could allow the teachers

Exam Graphic.png

Graphic by Harry Albritton

to focus more on content and decide how much they want to weigh an exam.

     Although I do not believe exams are accurate, I do see the value in them. Exams allow people outside of the school to see how much cumulative knowledge a student has gained. Exams can also be used, in theory, to moderate what students are being taught to make sure every student, no matter what school, is getting the same curriculum. While there is value, I believe it is the current system that is the problem. To truly test a student’s cumulative knowledge, teachers should be able to make an exam based on what they teach. To make sure everyone has the same curriculum there can be a written set of topics that must be taught—just take out the state-made exam. This would allow content to be taught instead of students being taught how to take a test.

     The current standardized testing system discredits students’ achievements and raises student stress levels. By implementing a teacher-made exam system that encapsulates everything a student is taught, tests will be able to more accurately show what a student has been able to achieve throughout a course.

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