Do Test Scores Really Show How Smart Someone Is? | Teen Ink

Do Test Scores Really Show How Smart Someone Is?

April 10, 2015
By annycs13 GOLD, Davis, California
annycs13 GOLD, Davis, California
12 articles 12 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.."



-Emma Watson


Do test scores really show how smart someone is?  Do they really show how intelligent a person is and how well they do in class?  Well, to start off, my grades suck, my test scores suck.  But somehow, when I get the homework and quizzes, I actually get decent grades.  My notes are neat and colour-coded, I have dates on every page with my name in the top corner.  I study like crazy for all of my tests and quizzes, yet when I get my tests back, the scores SUCK.  Majorly.  Seriously, I'm interested in the subject, I read over my notes, ask questions, and try to clarify things with my teachers and peers, but seriously?  Most of the time, even if I get it, or even when I don't, I just can't memorize it. Sometimes it's the fact that I can't understand the material and sometimes it's just that it won't stick with me.  I don't know really.  But seriously, do grades really show how smart someone is?  Does an A and a C- really make a difference in someone understanding something?  I mean, probably, but what if you get the material when you have your notes and explinations in front of you, but you don't get it when you have nothing in front of you and you're on your own?  Then what?  What if people are smart and they're interested in the subject but they can't understand it?  Is it their fault that they get a bad grade and fail the test because they asked around and still didn't understand it?  I have a tutor, and tons of people who try to help me understand the material when it comes to Chemistry.  And I still don't get it.  I try, i really try, but half the time in class one girl keeps rolling her eyes at me because when I ask a question, it involves a long answer and it takes up a lot of class time. Somehow though, when she has the long answer question, it's alright because she actually wants to know the answer.  I don't get that either!  I mean, sure, we're not exactly the best of friends, we semi-get along, I mean, she's not exactly mean to me, it's more that her responses are cool and her attitude towards me is distant.  But even still, I have a right to ask a question, even if the answer is long. 


I think that, just because someone is bad academically, it doesn't mean that they're bad at everything or that they're dumb.  I mean, they could be outstanding at the subject on their own, or they could ace a class that may not be offered at the school, but they take it elsewhere.  I mean, bad grades academically show how good you are in school and how smart you are right?  No, i don't believe that. Colleges look for students who have good grades, who work hard, though really they only judge that by their test scores and class grade, and who have lots of extracurriculars.  I mean, seriously?  That's a really good way to overlook an outstanding student.  My own mother thinks that I won't be able to get in anywhere because I'm doing so poorly in some classes.  I mean, I appreciate the honesty, but seriously?  I get enough people at school telling me my grades suck or laughing at me because I got a bad test score and they got a good one that I don't need my own mother doing the same.  I put down an answer for every problem, and 60% of the time my answer is incomplete or wrong.  That doesn't mean though that I didn't try or anything?  Maybe I misunderstood the problem or didn't understand it, but I tried.  Most people would say though that I didn't.  That I didn't try at all.  But I did try.  I tried, and maybe I didn't try hard enough or I tried and failed, but I tried.  And they don't understand that.  Teachers, advisors, parents, tutors, and other peers, they don't seem to understand that I did try, and maybe I didn't do well on it, but they can't say that i need to try harder or put more effort into it because I am putting an effort into my work. 


When my advisor speaks to me about my grades, about how I just need to put in a little more effort or try a new study skill, that just makes me feel bad about myself.  Well that, and annoyed. My study skill has worked for me in most of the other tests, so one really bad test doesn't mean that my study skills are terrible or that I need to change something.  I've tried different study skills, and none of them have really worked for me past me running out of time because I have to first figure out how this study skill is useful and how to do it.  I find that just picking out the stronger points, and rewriting them in a clearer way, sometimes colour-coded, sometimes not, that that works for me.  Some classes I do it differently, I make flashcards, I just read all my notes over again, or something like that.  And I feel like it works, before the test, with my friends and we're quizzing each other I feel like I know the stuff, but when i sit down and take the test, I think Wait, what??  I am totally lost. 
I think that grades show how well someone does under academic stress and pressure, and how well they can memorize something and show it on a piece of paper.  I do not believe, however, that this really shows how smart someone is.  A grade is just a letter, and it pisses me off that so many people, myself included, let that one letter dictate their lives.  Yes, it's a letter that matters, but to all the teachers out there, to all the adults out there, advisors, super-advisors, tutors, instructors, mentors— please think about how much the grade will effect the student before you truly give it to them.  If you know that they know the material, but they just don't know how to show it well in a test form, then please figure out a new way to get the info out of them.  If you know that they know it, then find a way to have them show it!  You tell us that we're smart, they you know that we know the stuff, yet you still give us tests and work that doesn't let us show how smart we are or how much we know the material.  Please find a new way to let us show what we know.  Tests me work for some people, but they don't work for everyone, myself included. 


Any student can take good notes, get a good homework grade, and have good social skills in class, but not all students can do well on tests, no matter how hard they try or how much they study.  They don't always understand the material when it's put in front of them in a test form, but if you put the material into another form, they may suddenly get it and KABOOM!  It all makes sense!  Probably not Kaboom, but still.  A test shows how well a student can memorize, but what if the student has trouble memorizing things, but they still know the material?  What if the do better with analytical questions, or visual tests?  Then what?  Teacher's can't issue tests like that.  They can't slow down for just one student.  And I think that's just stupid.  Students should be able to take a test and not think "I know I'm going to fail this test because I can't retain all of that information.".  They should be able to take a test and think "Okay, this is okay, I can do this.  What's in front of me makes sense, I understood what the teacher said because they slowed down, and this isn't just memorization.". 


Tests don't show how smart a student is.  They don't show how much the student has learned.  They just show how well a student can memorize a fact.  But what's the point in memorizing a fact if you don't understand it?  Someone may understand a fact, but they won't always have that memorized with every single detail.  Test scores effect a person's grade majorly.  It could be the test that tells you whether or not you have to repeat the class or not. 


So no, I don't believe that test scores really show a person's intelligence.  I believe that a person is a lot smarter than what their grades show, but when they see their grade, it downgrades them and makes them feel like their less than that.  Like they aren't smart.  And I think that's just stupid.



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