Student Perspective: Why I Think Test-Taking Is Detrimental to All Students

What are students’ thoughts about test-taking? This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom. 

In a traditional school experience, schools and teachers prioritize doing well on tests over everything else. I have gone to non-traditional schools throughout my life up until this year, so I had never really experienced tests. Going into a new school last year, I was nervous about many things, one of them being tests. 

As the school year progressed, my unease about most other things diminished, but my fear and anxiety about tests only grew more prominent. I find this particularly distressing. This test anxiety is much more prominent in children with learning differences than in the general population.

As if that is not bad enough, tests didn’t help me learn or internalize the material taught in class. Take, for instance, my science class that was very reliant upon test-taking. The only thing I learned from taking those tests was how to memorize a certain amount of facts for one or two months and then immediately forget them. If you asked me to retake one of the tests that I aced in science class, I would probably fail it because all that information was immediately ejected from my brain after we ended the unit. 

Throughout my traditional school experience, test-taking has served no positive purpose. That’s why I think as a country, the American education system needs to rethink its evaluation of students both in standardized and non-standardized testing and ask themselves if this practice will benefit students both in their school experience and in their life as a whole.

If you’re a teacher and need some alternatives to testing, project-based evaluations are a suitable replacement. These projects could range from writing a paper to performing in front of the class. Some of the projects that I’ve seen in the past and my classmates have enjoyed are making a presentation, having students write a song/rap, making an art piece, and making food.

Join us this November for the 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.

  • C. Solomon, Student Contributor

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