Tests: why are they important

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There are crucial as well as insignificant parts to taking tests. Is there a purpose to tests at all?  Is there any value to them? Many teachers use tests to understand what they can do to teach the lesson or unit differently next year for a better grade result. It is a helpful way to see what skills students need to work on to make progress, students know what they need to study more, and the concepts they don’t need to review as much.

Mrs. Walls, an AP English Literature, ACT review, and Teach Oklahoma teacher, has an explicit understanding of the importance of tests and quizzes.

“It is simply one form of assessment that students need to gauge their knowledge – if it is the only assessment tool a teacher uses, that becomes problematic,” Walls said

Many students experience test anxiety and become extremely anxious about failing. They may end up studying all night and not getting much sleep, or they will review for weeks, missing out on fun opportunities to hang out with friends.

People with learning disabilities can find it demanding and challenging to read a question while also reading the answers; it’s even harder to do when there is a reading portion like a short story. Sure, there is a testing room for those who have accommodations, but not every student who struggles has the accessibility. Even if they did, when they score poorly on an exam, it affects their grade, and it may not be a lack of understanding of the material but just how the test’s composed. 

Dr. Sterba, an AP Language and Composition, English III, and Creative Writing teacher at Edmond North High School, talks about other assessments that they find better than testing.

“I like project assessments, where students have to show mastery of skills by creating a project that showcases their knowledge,” Dr. Sterba said. 

Group work can be a challenge for some students as well. However, demonstrating mastery of a skill in a creative and fun way is also a great way to work on imagination. Students are often lost in their phones and lose the imagination skills they had in their youth. Being able to do a project instead of a test is another great way to enhance those skills. 

Understanding the importance of testing skills and polishing those skills can also improve test scores. Students are overwhelmed with state tests or finals because they don’t know what to expect. Looking at and paying attention to other testing and study skills may help with some extra fear and anxiety from the unknown. But not every test goes well. School settings are very average for a reason; however, being out of the binary does not change anything. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this opinion piece, please email Shadow Bennett at [email protected]