Are You Simply Your Test Score?

Standardized tests have a long history. Basic forms of testing date back to second millennium China BC. Though these tests were never validated, standardized testing continues to this day. It continues to markedly rule over the lives of students everywhere, shaping their life course in exceedingly important ways. From the very first IQ test that students take, to the exhausting hours put into studying for tests like the SATs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs, standardize tests continue to rule the academic decision making of today’s society. But what do these tests really tell us about the person taking them? It may give some general idea about academic performance, or it may simply tell us who has the best short term memory. But what exactly does it tell us about the people themselves? Does it tell us who is the most hard working? Or who is the most determined? Does it really tell us who would make the best grad student, doctor or lawyer? The answer, in my opinion, is no. It does not.

Today intelligence, and specifically one’s ability to do well on standardized tests, is used as a general representation of a person as a whole. But there are more to students, then simply having good test scores. There is more to a person than their intelligence as shown by one number on one test from one day. Yet, decisions like college acceptance, or job employment, decisions that really matter and can effect the course of someone’s entire future, are often determined simply by that one number.

The stress placed on today’s students to do well on tests is incomparable to that of any other time. Yet, testing is not teaching. And doing well on standardized tests, in my opinion is not representative of learning. So what is the solution? It may not be a simple fix, but it seems to me anyway, that we have quite the complex problem on our hands. Because after all, you are so much more than your test score.