Testing, Testing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 22, 2009
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Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Even he saw the obvious fallacies in testing.

The basic purpose of school is to equip us for success. That's what teachers, principals, governments, and oceans of bureaucracy exist to do. But success is measured in so much more than just scantron bubbles and fill-in-the-blank questions. A person's morals and character play a far greater part in personal achievement than knowing trivial facts.

Testing results in kids forgetting what they've learned. As contradictory as this sounds, I have firsthand experience of its truth. The only reason high school students learn is to ace the test. As soon as we step out of the classroom, we dump the information to create space. We then repeat the process. Even the honors kids do not retain much by the end of the year. And for the all-important finals, we reteach ourselves as much of the material as possible.

Furthermore, testing is not an efficient measure of intelligence. How well someone can memorize notes is not an indicator of smarts. Intelligence has more to do with comprehending material and the accompanying curiosity that results in students wanting to learn more. You cannot coerce someone into learning.

But the biggest injustice kids have to deal with is the biased, agenda-ridden concept of standardized testing. Some exams in my state are designed to grade the school. I believe that these do not further the learning process. Tests that are presented under the pretext of learning are actually used to brand a school and its kids as satisfactory or sub-par. These tests only have to do with funding, following the great fallacy of the No Child Left Behind Act. Schools must have adequate test scores in order to receive government funding, despite the fact that schools with lower scores are the ones that need the help most.

Consequently, schools with slashed funding turn to drastic measures of “teaching to the test” and cutting classes like creative writing, art, and even science – subjects that encourage the deeper thinking and reasoning so critical to personal development.

I hope that in the future, testing will become just another tool in the arsenal of teaching, not the savior of the educational system.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

annycs13 said...
Mar. 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm
I totally agree. I don't think that people should be measured on intelligence and a test score.
Katsview This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm
I really agree- some schools similar to mine teach for the standardized tests so their students will look good, but ours doesn't. Although we have tests, they aren't the focus of our school (which I think is the right approach).
NYClove13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm
I agree with you completely! Great article!(:
Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 18, 2011 at 6:16 am
I think goodnightmoon has a really good point. Good tests do help to ingraine information, however bad tests do have kids remembering silly little details rather than the concept, as goodnightmoon said. I agree though, that the schools with lower test scores need help more. They're probably poorer and can't afford good materials to teach kids. I also strongly agree that memorizing notes is not a good indicator of smarts, as you said. Excellent point. However, maybe it's just me, but you seem to ... (more »)
goodnightmoon said...
Apr. 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I totally understand where you're coming from, but I also think that testing is already a learning tool. How many kids would forget the information anyway, especially if there was no test. I think that some tests are a little ridiculous and check to make sure we can remember tiny details than try to make sure we know the general concepts, but I also think that we need tests in order to retain at least some of the information. 

I really agree with your mention of No Child Left Behi... (more »)

Becca17 said...
Mar. 26, 2011 at 10:01 am
Totally agree. I love how thorough you put it.
Nazneen replied...
Mar. 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm

i cant memorize all those yrs of hsitory and longitude lattitude of geography...its painful...


chocolatemoose77 said...
Mar. 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I would really like the schools to do away with tests and think of some innovative way to actually make kids actually care about what they are learning, because if you think about it, tests are more of a threat than anything from the student's point of view. If we don't do well, then we won't get a good grade, and our GPA goes down. Somebody needs to make school fun, and it would be so much easier to retain the information. Of course, this isn't really feasable for most districts, I'm lucky, ... (more »)

WillowFalls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 10:22 am
I totally agree with this! I can't memorize anything for my life and subsequently end up with low scores on standardized tests. It makes me feel so frustrated because I know I could do better if the tests weren't just trying to see whether or not I can remember some random fact or date that will have no impact on my life. Thanks for writing this; I hope the government someday realizes what's wrong with their stupid tests.
JustTaz said...
Jan. 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Most standardized test are more skill based though... what math can you do, how well you can comprehend something you just read, or basic grammar rules. really no studying involved...


As far as classes go projects are usually half done and meaningless, group work put off to one person, and speeches have the shy student failing no matter how much they know. Test are the easiest way to quickly check retained knowledge no matter how briefly and if you studied right you shoul... (more »)

thebushhippie said...
Oct. 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm
I agree with you. I think testing should still be used in schools, but they shouldn't be the only thing that measures a student's knowledge. I really hate taking tests but I love doing projects. Schools should look for more alternatives for grading instead of testing! Awesome article!!!!!
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm

It's very aggravating to have a teacher who's entire class revolves around his or her tests.

And why haven't we dumped NCLB yet?

lizzymwrites said...
Jul. 27, 2010 at 4:06 am


You don't forget everything you study for tests. I can still remember where Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born, and what each president did for my country. Tests are useful.

AngelicaM replied...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm
Even if you remember just a few sparse facts, consider how much more you have forgotten. I have the highest GPA of my sophomore class, and I know that with all the tests I have to study for, inevitably, many facts are forgotten. Isn't it more important to learn thinking skills or an appreciation of knowledge and creativity?
Pumpkinscout replied...
Sept. 18, 2011 at 6:18 am
I agree, AngelicaM.
HeadshotM said...
Feb. 9, 2010 at 4:29 am
Have u noticed how the more u study, the more the pencils and pens are used up
HAWKEYESTATE4ever replied...
Jul. 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm
Anh_Tho said...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm
I agree with you. With the Asian school system (China, Japan, Vietnam. ect) students just give the info back to the teachers once the test's over and the year's done. Heck I remember cramming for history. Now ask me how many countries are in the ASEAN organizations and I will give you (at best) a blank look.
Vijay said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Good article but I would like to differ. Testing should remain an important tool to measure education. I agree it not fair to judge somebody based only on test score. But life is unfair. This is one of the first lession students should learn !!!
St. Naj replied...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Did it ever occur to you that some students are just not good at tests? Students can get nervous and forget what they've learned. Intelligence shouldn't be measured in test scores.
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