Testing restricts real education



Emily BrandonIn the five weeks that I’ve been in school, I’ve taken eleven tests and am currently preparing for two more. However, in the 28 days I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve learned enough to be tested that much.

In a majority of my seven classes I’ve written, read, and reviewed in order to prepare for tests that take an entire class period to complete. This material is forgotten in the next week as I plow through different material. When we do this every few weeks, I’m never truly learning. I’m memorizing for a test and then forgetting, and I can’t be the only one. School is already becoming overwhelming with the amount of testing I’m doing.

Personally, I love learning. In my eyes, we’re only alive for a short time and I want to know everything I can about the world before my time is up. As cheesy as that is, it’s the reason I read nonfiction in my free time and ask all the questions that pop into my head. In the past few years I’ve stopped associating learning with school.

I learn in my classes, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think I learn as much as I could because we’re focusing on speed instead of depth. The closer I get to college, the more I see a shift in my classes from actual learning to memorizing for tests that give me a number so I can be compared to other students my age.

Since schools have gotten a portion of their money based on students’ test scores, a policy from No Child Left Behind, it has become easier for teachers to teach off of what students need to know for tests rather than go deeper into each subject. As a student, I feel like all of the testing is actually taking away from my education.

Before this year began, I decided I would take advantage of everything my school had to offer me. Within the first few days I joined multiple clubs and started really paying attention to my classes. What I found was not what I expected. Education is meant to be about expanding your mind, learning things and going in depth with those things. To me, there’s no point in knowing about something if you don’t know why it is the way it is, how it works, what it’s all about. With the constant testing, I don’t see any of that in depth education happening because we’re learning the minimum for what we need for our tests.

In the classes where tests aren’t as frequent and instead the hour is spent discussing a topic, whatever it may be, I know I’m learning more. I leave those classes thinking about what we talked about and how it directly affects different aspects of my life. Each day I come to school looking forward to those classes.

I don’t blame my teachers for the way I feel. I know there are certain curriculum requirements they have to follow and that more often than not, it’s those requirements that stifle learning and push testing. With all of the changes going on with our schooling this year and the years coming up, I’m just hoping that someone higher up in the education board realizes that testing and learning are not synonymous.

 Emily Brandon
Entertainment Editor