Tests-What Do They Really Prove?

In high school, I had a friend that was obsessed with the ACT test. She took it over and over. She was constantly asking teachers that she thought were very intelligent how they had scored on the test. I couldn’t see what the big deal was about taking an extremely long and spendy test. I took it twice but I got a waiver otherwise I would have probably only taken it once. And both times, I didn’t find the test enjoyable. The first time, I kind of freaked out and didn’t do very well on the math section. And when it came time for science, I found it extremely difficult and so at the end, I just filled in bubbles. I ended up scoring really high in science. The second time I took it, I was more relaxed and was able to raise my math score. But of course, my science score went down. Tests don’t always prove intelligence or even what the individual knows. If they did, my ACT science score would not have been so high the first time.


In high school, we were always given a study guide for biology a few days before the test. I would refer to the study guide often until I had memorized all the questions. I would get an A on the test and then I would immediately forget everything I had memorized because I no longer needed to know it. The biology test only showed what I was able to memorize.


In physiology, I figured out that the test questions came from our multiple choice assignments. So a few days before the test, I would start memorizing those answers and then I would do really well on the test. Again, the tests only showed what I had memorized.


Math was usually a little different. I did have to do practice problems before the test. But again, there was some memorization involved. My teacher would give us practice problems to study. I really struggled with setting up a certain kind of word problem so I would just study how the practice problems were set up and then do the same thing on the test. Again, I would get those problems right because I had memorized how to set them up.


I am not saying that all tests don’t measure what has been learned. I just think teachers need to evaluate what they want their students to learn and find a better way to demonstrate their knowledge rather than through multiple choice tests or study guides that can be recited. But even then, tests don’t necessarily show intelligence or knowledge. There are a lot of factors that play into test scores.


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