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OPINION: Is testing necessary?

By Rachel Ross

The stress and anxiety about the day of the test, the finger tapping, nail-biting, and leg shaking are all symptoms of the stress of an upcoming test that’s worth so much. So the question rings: is testing even a benefit to learning?

It can all seem so easy for some people, while it is so challenging for others. The fast note taking, and the late night cramming all to earn that one good grade that could advance or completely contradict that one grade the final grade.

In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, it was reported that on average, teens’ reported stress levels were higher than adults’ reported stress levels. Thirty-six percent of teens reported feeling nervous or anxious, 31 percent reported feeling overwhelmed, and 30 percent reported feeling depressed or sad as a result of stress in the month prior to the survey.

As students, we do not know how testing really helps. We see it as, you cram to pass, once and if you pass, you go back to cramming for another night, another test, another class. Old information will often be forgotten as students are worried about struggling, to get the information and pass the class.   

Author Peter Grey completely agrees with that fact.

“Schools are for showing off, not for learning,” said Grey. “When we enroll our children in school, we enroll them into a never-ending series of contests—to see who is best, who can get the highest grades, the highest scores on standardized tests, win the most honors, make it into the most advanced placement classes, get into the best colleges.”   

Testing may influence kids to study more, work harder, and have some consideration for school. Testing allows the teacher to see how well they are teaching the class and for the student to see how well they are learning the subject content. But is it worth all the anxiety and stress beforehand? In a survey of 35 people from Batavia High School, 61.8 percent said that testing isn’t helpful. In a separate question, 73.5 percent said they tapped when having anxiety about a test. Almost 60 percent said that biting their nails and losing sleep was another symptom they felt when they knew about an upcoming test or were taking a test.  

Testing seems like something that’s enforced rather than a choice. Students should be able to choose how they learn and use what helps them learn best, and testing may not be the answer for everybody. and how much they can show, knowledge-wise, on a test. Testing should be a choice, not a rule. In reality, testing only really teaches kids how to be stressed and learn how to deal with it, which is problematic. Kids should not have to deal with stress higher than at an adult level.

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