Testing grades since day one: Why do exams count for so much?

Mia Scott, Opinion Writer

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Stress. Study. Drink coffee. Repeat.

Hours and hours spent studying for benchmarks, tests, PSATs and quizzes. A few all nighters here and there just for one grade. Each week every student has at least 2 tests for classes, but do we really learn?

Everyone learns in a unique way, whether that be visual, audio or hands on. However, all students are given the exact same test and are expected to pass it. According to  German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, students forget roughly 95% of the information we worked so hard to learn in high school in roughly three days. The typical reason for forgetfulness is because of a lack of vitamin B12 due to the lack of sleep. School expects us to have tunnel vision focused on studies, and they tend to forget that we have lives outside of school. When family, sports, friends, religion and more take up our time, we have to spend the late hours of the night doing our homework or studying. This devotion leads to sleep deprivation.

I understand that the school board needs to check up on how effectively teachers are doing their jobs, but is it worth the cost of quiz and test-induced weekly stress? If you find it necessary that tests are given to see how well teachers are doing their jobs, then why do the grades for tests count so much? Especially when students typically don’t retain the information?

Tests are not an effective way to see how well students are doing in the long term quarter. Rather, the short term hours of studying texts are going to be forgotten in minutes. Testing does nothing to enhance knowledge and thwarts the development of an appreciation for learning according to the director of learning at Pace University.

Personally I think learning and going to school should be a fun active way for students to retain information, not a fast, anxiety-filled dread you feel when you walk into class.

Teachers: learning involves repetition and numerous hours set aside for the particular lesson at hand. If you decide to test regularly and keep the tests worth the same for students, test them the next class you have them so that the information is fresh in their minds, review before and after, and go over the information later in the course in class.