Tests: The killer of education


Students should not go to school just to take tests that will only stress them out. They should go to school relaxed and ready to learn, but this will never happen while tests are still required in schools. Photo Credit: Creative Common

Rachel Sandstrom

The goal of education is to teach lessons that will benefit students throughout their lives. Education should give students the opportunity to set themselves apart from the rest of society by applying themselves more than the average person. That’s the goal; unfortunately this goal is not achieved for many because of the burdensome assignments the school board calls tests. Tests do not teach students lessons to take with them after school is over, tests teach students to memorize information and forget it the moment the test is finished.


School is one of the biggest stressors for many students. The main reason for this is the endless amount of tests assigned to students. Tests create an environment where students are unable to fully comprehend the importance of the lessons they are being taught because while they are sitting in class listening to the lecture, there is always the thought in the back of their minds, “will this be on the test, or can I stop listening?” It is drilled into the minds of students that if what they are being taught will not be on the test then it’s not important. This is extremely detrimental to the students’ ability to actually learn the material resulting in an inability to recall information to use in life. Junior Krysta Schwab speaks out on this topic, “It makes me more anxious to know everything…so it builds up into a huge knot of stress and anxiety because all that seems to matter is getting a good grade.”


With a teacher’s job depending on how well students do on tests, many educators resort to, “teach to the test.” They only teach what will be on the test and avoid trying different teaching methods because if what they already do gets the grades they want on tests, they think, “why bother to change it.” According to Whitby School“With every minute counting on the way to their students’ next exam, teachers will worry that an untested method will backfire and their students will score worse than before.” This is extremely hurtful to the students because now they are stuck in an endless cycle of the same teaching day in and day out which bores them making it much more difficult for them to pay attention. 


Many students get test anxiety where they feel a mixture of physical and emotional symptoms such as nausea, headaches, stress, and fear before a test which prevents them from performing well on it. This is a serious issue especially when tests determine the students overall grade and performance. If school was not solely focused on testing, students would feel more relaxed and ready to learn because they would know they are not defined by a test but more so on their character and performance in school. Junior Alyssa Carlson talks about her struggle with test anxiety, “I blank out because I feel like I’m focused on what’s going to happen after (the grade) instead of focusing on what’s in front of me.” 


Without tests, authority figures such as teachers, parents, or college administrators could get a better understanding of the student as a person and judge them based on their ability to apply themselves and learn rather than a measly grade on a couple tests. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe grades are important because they can show a little of what type of student the kid is, but if tests are what mainly determines the grade (and they are), that is not an accurate depiction of who the student is. Carlson agrees with this, “I excel in other areas of school such as projects. I really think it’s unfair that students’ knowledge is based on a piece of paper.”


To read more about what testing anxiety is and how it dramatically affects students go here and read this article.