What’s With all the Tests?

Whats With all the Tests?

Brett Lefurge, Student Writer


When starting a new school year, exams that test your abilities are an important part of setting a baseline and tracking your growth throughout the school year. Are these tests truly good for students? In past years, students have only had to take such tests in math and English, but this year it has been expanded to include all of the core subjects. At the beginning of the year it is unlikely that students will know all or even some of the answers to these questions, since they just haven’t learned those concepts yet. Students loudly complain about these tests, and even more so this year, but what do they actually think about these tests? Are the questions they don’t know demotivating and frustrating them? What do teachers think? Are they forced by the administration to give them out and dislike them as much as students? Or do they see it as a helpful tool to gauge what knowledge their students have at the beginning of the year.

Students will always have differing opinions of these tests. Most hate them with a passion, believing them to be a waste of time, while many others don’t mind them and think they are fine, if a little boring. One student believes that while the tests are a good resource to track improvement, they are inconsistent because you might score quite high, but only have been sure about one of the questions. This could lead to some teachers believing that the student is farther along than they really are. Sophomore Aidan Illingsworth says that these tests are very challenging, mostly because of those questions that haven’t been taught yet, and since he hasn’t been taught these concepts yet, he was confused by most of the questions asked. He says he wasn’t demotivated by getting a low grade on the tests, but that since we haven’t learned the concepts, he doesn’t feel that these tests set a very good baseline for what your knowledge is.

Sam Garcia, another sophomore, says that he doesn’t think the texts are a waste of time, since they’re just simple small ones for the school, and don’t take up more than 30 minutes. Sam does feel challenged when taking these tests, but doesn’t get frustrated with answers that the class hasn’t gone over yet. “The whole point of the test is to see what you know and what you don’t know, so there’s no point in getting upset about things never taught to you.” However, he does admit he was confused on about half the questions for each test. Sam also offers a different perspective on whether or not these tests provide a good baseline for teachers to look at. He says, “As soon as students hear it is not graded and just used for data, they immediately stop trying their hardest and guess on answers they don’t know to try and get through the test more quickly.” If students are doing this it would skew the data to be lower. Sam wasn’t demotivated by the test in any way since the tests more so factor into the whole student body versus on an individual level. Sam was also fine with the number of extra tests given this year, since he sees them as being short 15 question quizzes that don’t have significant stress attached to them.

Students aren’t the only ones who dislike these exams. Many teachers also consider them to be a waste of limited school time. One anonymous teacher believes that these tests do negatively affect students, since important educational time is wasted, and many of the things gone over in the tests won’t actually be used. They also believe that the tests are not good at setting data for students, and there are other ways to measure a students knowledge. If these tests were optional this teacher would not give these to the students because of the time wasted. More than that though, this teacher is afraid that other teachers will teach students these tests, instead of what they need to know. They will focus on the tests instead of the broader subject, which means students will learn less overall.

While these tests can be helpful for some things, most students seem to find them more frustrating and tedious than anything else. The lack of knowledge going into the test can cause some students to get demotivated, and more than that, they don’t do a good job with their intended purpose of showing the teacher what level you are at. The Performance Matters Tests are without purpose and it’s clear that students do not believe they are getting anything out of them.