What is the Point in Testing?
It is not surprising when the teacher announces that a test is coming up at the end of the week. Students groan as a natural response and dread the day that is to come. Pressured by the time that continues to fly by, the students start to scribble faster in attempts to finish the test. After the test finishes, complaints may come, but relief is clear on their faces because that is one thing out of the week that they no longer have to worry about. When the results come out, there are only two types of feelings that arise: excitement and disappointment. This sparks a question that does not come up too often: Do tests really assess the student’s ability and potential?
There are different types of tests, some of which can be analytical or mathematical. The tests the students take in the class will require them to memorize the main concepts of the course regardless of the class they are in because they have to be able to remember the concepts in order to apply it to solve a problem or answer a question correctly. In a way, the tests the students take assesses their potential and ability because they are able to prove that they have an in-depth understanding of the lessons taught in class. They are likely to be able to apply them to more challenging questions and will only continue to learn and prosper from there. However, those who do not perform as well on the tests may be viewed negatively, but there are endless possibilities that may have led to their downfall.
One of the major factors of their poor performance revolves around their feelings, whether it be physical or mental state. Having bad days are normal, but the drop in their mood can cause them to have lower tolerance for anything, which may be a reason why they may give up a lot easier than others when it comes to challenging problems or questions that require a higher level of thinking. As a result, this carelessness will make the student stress out more and more, resulting in a bad performance throughout the entire test duration. Being unable to concentrate is one factor, but there are many more.
Another large contributor would be the different learning styles that each student has. This is a factor that cannot be easily remedied, but this may cause a range in scores. The learning environment revolves around heavy lecture and visual powerpoints, but this may be a lot more difficult for those who are hands on, and even for those who are visual learners since it is not abundant amount of visuals. Learning styles have a lot to contribute to a student’s performance, but it may also vary because one student has multiple learning styles, despite whether they are good at one and bad at the other. The ways in which the student interprets the lesson is unique and often takes different levels of time to fully understand the concepts being taught. Therefore, assessing a student with a test does not always show their full potential.
In the end, it may just be that time is the main issue. It is not in the control of the teacher and cannot be helped. However, students can try to put in their best efforts and may just perform well. It should not be automatically thought that a student who performs well is bad because there are many factors that could have led to a poor performance, unless there is a clear lack of effort. Students have potential and do put in a lot of effort into something they care about, but tests are not necessarily the best way to show it. It can be one way, but it is not always correct.