EDITORIAL: Tests do not accurately represent student knowledge, encourage cramming, cheating

Test: a procedure intended to establish the quality and performance of something or someone.

Tests can be good, they ensure that people and things are up to quality, and that good and useful information is being provided.

The Great Falls Public Schools district, however, misuses and overuses tests.

A good test is measured by its ability to accurately represent educational material and the usefulness of the information. Testing people excessively does not provide good information, and in fact makes kids apathetic to the material being tested.

Cramming exists because students understand that knowledge is not valued. A test score is.

We believe that “teaching to the test” is what degrades our education system because it encourages the recitation of information, not the keeping of it.

During the CRT’s some students do not take the test seriously. They fill in bubbles that will create a picture, or at random because they feel like these tests are useless.

The ACT and SAT tests do not effectively measure what is learned in school because they do not emphasize what students are good at. There are artists, musicians, and many other students who do not excel in math, science or English, but excel in other, equally important areas of study.

One of the best examples of this is that teachers have cheated for students on tests. What these teachers show us is that teachers recognize what the stakes of these tests are, not a student’s future, but the effects of their score on the school and teachers.

District tests are a perfect example of forcing teachers to teach to the test. In Texas between 2004 – 2007, 700 schools were investigated for cheating, eleven schools were caught cheating in Washington D.C. in 2012, and in 2011, 23 schools in California were caught cheating, these teachers have been accused of changing incorrect responses or filling in missing ones. Teachers can face negative repercussions if their students do poorly.

Oftentimes, no matter how well or poorly a teacher has prepared his or her students, how well they do is often not representative of the teacher but of the personalities they have in a class. If a class is full of apathetic students, it is reasonable to suggest that they also take tests in an apathetic manner.

Society has turned students into a test score, and everyone is more than a number.

The current testing method does not often match up to the information taught in the classroom, and therefore we do not believe that tests are a useful means to measure how well students are doing.

The way that tests are formatted now, they are a waste of students’ time. The information that they produce is not useful, students are apathetic to tests and do not take them seriously. And, in the end, they do not fairly emphasize students’ strengths, but instead the cramming and recitation of facts, to be forgotten as soon as the test is over.