Is testing really necessary?



The average high schooler will spend 21.25 hours a school year devoted to testing in class, according to the Washington Post. Some students will study for twice the amount of time than they will actually be testing for, only to get mediocre scores. Many students wonder if there is a true point to testing.

“I think standardized testing is outdated,” junior Savannah McCracken said. “I think testing has a purpose, but the way that testing is done now needs to be altered before it will be as effective as it’s meant to be.”

Many students will feel so pressured to perform well on a test that they jeopardize themselves by not sleeping well, being too nervous or even cheating.

“(Testing is) putting all of the students into a box that they should not reasonably be put into since all of us learn and express differently,” McCracken said.

Some students feel that certain tests are just other forms of ‘busywork,’ or work given out in class so that a teacher doesn’t have to physically teach.

“Summer reading tests are essentially useless,” an anonymous source said. “It feels like when we test on those it is just for the heck of it. I can’t see any time in the future where I’m going to need to know all of the animals Pi had with him out on the ocean.”

When asked, 43 percent of Northwest students said they disliked tests more when it comes to classroom assignments.

There are some teachers in Northwest that also think there are limited uses for testing.

“I agree that (testing) doesn’t always have a purpose,” math teacher Jennifer Goldin said. “I also agree that there is definitely an overabundance of testing.”

While many students may have stopped reading at the above quote, it simply isn’t the full story. Tests are as needed as they are unwanted.

“We do need to assess what you guys are learning, otherwise we don’t know if we can move on to new topics and stretch your brains,” Goldin said. “We also can give you feedback (from tests) so that you know what it s that you need to work on.”

Goldin prefers to call tests assessments, as she feels it’s a more accurate term to describe what tests are meant to do.

“The word ‘test’ already has a negative feeling associated with it,” Goldin said. “I can’t speak for other teachers, but when I give out an assessment, I try to only give two or three questions. It’s just enough for me to say I know where (my students) are.”

Some students believe that testing is in fact useful, but that testing could need some modifications.

“I think testing has a purpose, but I think the way that testing is done now needs to be altered before it will be as effective as it’s meant to,” McCracken said. “If we change tests to have more free response questions, like the AP tests do, or we changed exams to be all teacher made rather than standardized by the state so that teachers can teach the way they would like to and that by that the students would know exactly what they needed to for that class if they had learned anything.”

While it may seem like an easy fix, there may be no true way to perfect testing.

“They put too much weight on certain tests, and (tests) don’t take into the fact that it’s one day at one time in your life and something could be going on that day for you,” Goldin said. “It may not be an accurate measure of what you’re capable of doing.”

Testing, while sometimes needed, is not a completely accurate measure of a student’s strengths in school.

“Some people are just bad test takers,” McCracken said.